Business in Libya for foreign companies

Extract from Business in Libya Jan 16th 2012, The Economist.

Some sectors need investment so urgently that contracts can be won straightaway, though foreigners are encouraged to invest or team up with Libyan firms rather than operate alone. Some foreign companies have signed short-term deals to rebuild roads, hospitals and schools. Insurance companies and banks willing to work without paying huge risk-premiums and to give credit may also be welcomed with open arms. Big Western oil companies with an existing footprint are already back at work. Having plunged below 50,000 barrels a day (b/d) at the peak offighting, Libya’s crude production is already pushing 1m b/d, and is expected to return to the pre-war level of 1.7m by June or so.

Those who hope to win big construction, infrastructure and oil deals next year are quietly cultivating relations with the transitional government, though some oil companies are chafing because the new people at the head of the National Oil Company bargain just as hard as the old lot. The government strongly favours working with firms from countries that backed the uprising that toppled Colonel Qaddafi. So Qatari and Turkish business delegations have been feted; Russian and Chinese visitors have been greeted frostily. The finance ministry is reviewing all contracts signed under the previous regime; the most corrupt will apparently not be honoured. Some construction companies may have to abandon half-finished projects. So will some oil and gas companies. Some energy giants close to the Colonel may find themselves shut out entirely.

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