Libya 'to honour all legal oil deals'
Dubai, August 24, 2011
Libya's rebel government will honour all energy contracts granted legally under Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule and work to restore oil output to pre-war levels within a year, said rebel reconstruction leader Ahmed Jehani.
'The contracts in the oil fields are absolutely sacrosanct,' Ahmed Jehani, the head of the National Transitional Council's (NTC) reconstruction effort, told Reuters Insider TV late on Tuesday.
'All lawful contracts will be honoured ... There's no question of revoking any contract.'
Jehani said reconstruction efforts to bring oil and other industrial infrastructure back to normal would take at least nine months.
'If we get it all right, we are probably going to be within the nine months to one year. I don't see why not based on what I see today but I mean it's rather premature to give estimates,' he said.
'Right now we are focused like a laser on stabilisation, how you stabilise security, the services to your people, humanitarian (support).
'You get the governance right, you get the economy right, all of these things you need to do and focus on them, then you move into rehabilitation.'
Jehani said the NTC would welcome any Chinese investment and financial assistance to help rebuild the country, easing concerns that Chinese and Russian firms could lose out on contracts for not backing the rebellion which began in February.
'We encourage it ... We are not making any discrimination. There will be issues as to how we're going to have to pay for this and whether we have the money,' he said.
'These are capacity issues in the non-oil sector. In the oil sector you have no problem.'
Libya's huge reserves of highly-prized light, sweet crude have been missed by European refiners.
Italian oil company Eni led the charge back into Libya on Monday and more energy companies with multi-million dollar investments in the country are expected to follow soon.
With oil at over $100 a barrel the cost of repairing damaged oil installations will be less of a problem for Libya than the technical challenges of reviving production from the country's oil fields after months of stagnation.
'Luckily, we don't have much damage to the oil fields other than what has been reported,' Jehani said.
'The most difficult part is how much pressure you have lost in the oil fields and how do you bring it up again, how can you clean up the sludge that's been created by the fact that you are not pumping oil.'-Reuters
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