December 6, 2004


Oil Firms Eager to Turn the Tap Back On in Libya: Occidental and other U.S. companies are ready to exploit a huge source of crude. But it won't happen overnight. (James F. Peltz, December 6, 2004, LA Times)

With Libya coming in from the cold, the race for its oil is heating up.

Eighteen years ago, the last U.S. oil companies were ordered out of Libya when Washington placed sanctions on the government of Col. Moammar Kadafi, whom President Reagan called the "mad dog of the Middle East."

Now President Bush's administration has opened the door for oil giants to reclaim a tantalizing prize: a huge, untapped source of crude.

The U.S. companies' efforts carry risks, and it's unclear whether they will be able to wrangle favorable terms from the mercurial Kadafi. But major oil discoveries are hard to come by these days, as tight supplies have lifted prices to near record highs, and Libya stands as a rare source of available crude that can't be ignored.

"It's like kissing a porcupine," said Scott Maberry, an attorney with law firm Fulbright & Jaworski, which is helping some companies in their Libyan efforts.

Heck, for proven oil reserves most of these guys would get jiggy with the porcupine.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 6, 2004 3:49 PM

In 1961 Bunker Hunt bid for track #65. He drilled so many dry holes in the previous years that he was broke and had to take British Petroleum on as a partner. A field (the largest ever in North Africa was discovered on that tract) Bunker Hunt was only 35 years old then and his share was worth $7 Billion dollars (that was when a billion dollars meant something)(oil was $3 per barrel and Hunt was bringing $30 million per month).

In the early 70's Col. Qaddafi nationalized the oil fields and demanded 51% royalties. Occidental Petroleum, under Armand Hammer was the first Oil company to cooperate with Qaddafi.

Bunker Hunt was kicked out by Qaddafi, but British Petroleum, and Occidental continued to operate there. As well as the other Major Oil companies.

The "little guy" doesn't have a chance.

Posted by: h-man at December 6, 2004 6:48 PM