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Gazprom wins Libyan license

Russia’s Gazprom has won a tender held by Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) to develop an area with oil reserves estimated at 20 million metric tons (147 million bbl), a respected business daily said Monday.

Vedomosti said NOC held the tender on Sunday among 35 global energy giants, including ExxonMobil and BP, for ten oil and gas sectors over an area totaling around 70 square kilometers. Apart from energy giant Gazprom, which will develop a zone of around four kilometers, oil blocks also went to Shell, Poland’s PGNiG, and Algeria’s Sonatrach. The tender also involved Russia’s LUKoil and Novatek, the largest independent gas producer. A week ago experts felt Russian bidders had little chance of winning anything in the tender. The Libyan authorities November 25 detained Alexander Tsygankov, head of LUKoil Tripoli, in connection with passing information on the bids, according to sources close to the Foreign Ministry. Though LUKoil had submitted an application at the time, the newspaper was unable to find out whether a company official attended the tender.

Novatek pulled out of the tender after „assessing the project feasibility,” a source in the company said. Both NOC officials and those company’s involved in the bidding declined to make any comment on the tender Sunday. Sergei Molozhavy, whose company, Tekhnopromexport, has been active in Libya for over a decade now, said foreigners found it hard to work in the country, where bureaucracy is thriving, and „all decisions take a long time to make. However, „all commitments are honored,” the businessman said. Vedomosti reported that Gazprom was currently running three projects in Libya. The energy giant signed a production-sharing agreement with NOC for a sector of some 10 square kilometers in the Mediterranean. The company plans to invest $200 million in the project by 2012. Gazprom recently obtained 49.9% in two oil concessions in Libya from Germany’s BASF under last year’s asset swap agreement. (rian.ru)