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Political News

Political News
Released:  07/06/20122012-06-07
Word count:  260

The Libyan central government in Tripoli has seized control over Tripoli airport, subdued illegal armed men and regained stability.

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Mina Monir
In an explicit challenge to Libya’s state authority, a group belonging to al-Wefa’ militia attacked Tripoli airport and closed it to force the government to release their leader who was held into custody by Tripoli’s security forces. The situation got worse when Zintan and Tripoli militias conducted aggressive operationsagainst the al-Wefa’ gunmen to free the capital’s airport. The attacks resulted in some damage of equipment and planes and ten people were injured. However, it didn’t take more than a few hours until the central government managed to regain control over the airport, which is located 40 miles south of Tripoli. "The attack on the airport is dangerous, but we dealt with it as a government, military and revolutionaries with intelligence," the head of the country's National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said. Around 24 hours of the crisis, the airport staff managed to reactivate Tripoli’s airport successfully. "I declare the Tripoli airport officially open and ready to receive flights," Milad Maqboq, director of airport operations said. "It's up to airlines to cancel or resume their flights, but we are ready" he added. An Austrian Airlines flight and empty Qatar Airways plane reportedly took off from the airport on Tuesday. Despite the quick recovery of the airport, questions regarding the security challenges in Libya’s vital establishments are being asked. However, there is a considerable progress that could be easily seen in the level of stability since the National Transitional Council established its control over Libya; one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of oil resources.
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  07/06/20122012-06-07
Word count:  268

Kuwait Energy, one of the fastest growing independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the Middle East, announced that it has hosted a delegation of officials from Libyan national oil companies for a full day workshop to provide them with insights and guidance in ways to rebuild the Libyan energy industry.

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Mina Monir
Kuwait Energy CEO, Sara Akbar, inaugurated the workshop with a case study presenting an overview on Kuwait's oil industry. This was followed with presentations by Kuwait Energy Advisor to the Chairman, Mr. Mohammed Al Jazzaf, Kuwait Aviation Fuel Company (KAFCO) Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. Asaad Al Saad, Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) Chairman and Managing Director, Mr. Hashim Al Refai, Kuwait Energy Board Director, Chairman and CEO of YAA Consultancy, Dr. Yousef Al Awadhi, and finally by EQUATE President and CEO, Mr. Mohammed Hussein.

Kuwait Energy also organized a day visit for the delegation in Al Ahmadi facilities and fields in collaboration with the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC).

Sara Akbar said, "Libya's energy sector has been tremendously affected during the years of autocratic ruling that overlooked the development of the industry. With the downfall of the regime, Libyans have begun to rebuild this vital sector. Kuwait Energy took the initiative, capitalizing on Kuwait's expert team in post-war rebuilding, to extend support to Libya's energy sector by providing its team with case studies, insights and solutions that would help ease Libya's future transition. We thank KAFCO, KGOC and EQUATE for joining hands with Kuwait Energy in holding this workshop. We also thank KOC for hosting the Libyan delegation at their exhibition centre and providing them with a tour of some of the oil facilities."

The Libyan delegation included managers, engineers, planners and specialists from the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC), the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO), the Sirte Oil Company (SOC), the Ras Lanuf Oil & Gas Processing Co. (RASCO), and the Waha Oil Company (WOC). [source: AMEinfo.com]
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Construction News

Construction News
Released:  07/06/20122012-06-07
Word count:  277

ISTANBUL — Qatar Telecom, or Qtel, is interested in acquisitions in Libya and Syria as it extends its geographical reach and focuses on new data and broadband offerings, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

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Mina Monir
Qtel, which aims to be among the world’s 20 biggest telecoms companies by 2020, on Tuesday announced it would double its stake in Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell to 60%. The company also acquired a license to operate fixed-line and 3G services in Tunisia last month, and was in the running for a license in Syria before unrest erupted there last year.

“We have never stopped looking,” Nasser Marafih, the Qtel chief executive, said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Istanbul. “We got involved in the third license in Syria before the political problems came. We’re also interested in Libya. We’re still interested in Libya because we think that’s a good market to be in and it would fit with our presence in North Africa.”

In that region, Qtel has investments in Algeria and in Tunisia. It bought half of Tunisiana, Tunisia’s largest telecom operator, from Orascom Telecom for $1.2 billion last year, a holding that was increased in 2011 to 75%.

Mr. Marafih said the need for regional telecoms to cut costs and become more efficient to compete would drive future consolidation. Qtel, which is majority-owned by the Qatari government, wants to be one of the large regional players, having built up a presence in Asia, the Arab Gulf and the wider Middle East.

“In our region there are a lot of companies that sit on their own from the beginning,” Marafih said. “It increasingly will be important for them to be part of a group, because cost will be a matter they will have to deal with, and we believe there are opportunities for those companies to align with one of the key operators.”
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Business News

Business News
Released:  05/06/20122012-06-05

Weekly Summary Libya Build 2012 is Open for Offers On the 20th of May, the Libyan Minister of Economy Ahmed el-Koshly has inaugurated the Libya Build 2012 fair in Tripoli. In his speech before the representatives of more than 600 international companies Mr. Koshly said that “Libya has recovered from its wounds and started on its return to normality”. He added further, “Soon we will have elections and we hope to establish a...

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Libya says oil sector won't nationalize

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Financial News

Financial News
Released:  05/06/20122012-06-05
Word count:  226

The Central Bank of Libya stated that the new Libyan currency will be released in 6 months.

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Mina Monir
The governor of the Libyan Central Bank Mr. Al-Saddiq Umar al-Kabir stated that the new Libyan currency will be ready for public circulation in 6 months from now. Mr. Al-Kabir confirmed, in a meeting with a number of editors working for Libyan news agency, that designs for the new currency have reached their final stage. Furthermore, “there is a study being processed to exempt citizens from paying interest on loans without affecting the financial status of the commercial banks that give these loans,”al-Kabir said. He also stated that the Central Bank is working on providing a financial alternative that conforms with Islamic Sharia law in the policies of loans. Several Libyan news agencies have reported that the governor of the Libya Central Bank has already removed all the restrictions on the limits of withdrawing Libyan currency from banks. He also declared that the Central Bank is ready to issue a new decision, in the coming few days, to allow Libyan citizens to withdraw from their bank accounts without any limits. The Central Bank has also commissioned a team to track the Libyan assets smuggled by the former regime. The governor explained that the Central Bank already started to cooperate internationaly in the Star Programme, through which the International Bank will train Libyan individuals on the methods of tracking smuggled assets and bringing them back to Libya.
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  05/06/20122012-06-05
Word count:  131

(Reuters) - Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach is to resume exploratory drilling in neighbouring Libya by the end of June after suspending work because of last year's uprising, an official in Algeria's energy sector said.

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Mina Monir
Sonatrach has exploration rights in the Ghadames basin, near the border between the two countries.

Sonatrach's overseas unit will start drilling a fifth well at block 65, one of two blocks it is exploring in the Ghadames basin, the energy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Algerian officials had announced last month that Sonatrach would return to Libya, but at the time it was not clear how quickly the company would be able to resume exploration.

Foreign companies are gradually going back to Libya, despite concerns over security and about the possibility the new authorities will review contracts signed during the rule of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Oil major BP last week announced it would be resuming exploration work on its concessions in Libya, home to Africa's largest proven oil reserves.
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Business News

Business News
Released:  01/06/20122012-06-01
Word count:  868

The security situation in Tripoli remains unchanged, although AKE personnel on the ground reported a number of small-scale clashes in the city over the past week. In Benghazi the situation also remains the same. The risk of clashes between militia groups is lower than in Tripoli, although there have been a number of cases reported. Meanwhile, Air Malta has resumed services to Benghazi's Benina International Airport. BP has moved closer to...

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Hind Bensari
The security situation in Tripoli will remain largely the same, although there is a risk of a slight deterioration in the lead up to parliamentary elections. Demonstrations are likely, with the potential for low-level violence, particularly if the elections are cancelled.

Projections for the security environment in Benghazi are similar, although there are a number of local issues that could also spark low level unrest, particularly if there are any developments around the issue of semi-autonomy.

The risk of clashes in rural and isolated areas of the country will remain, particularly in the south. Tensions remain around a number of recent flashpoint areas, and personnel should be aware of the risk when travelling outside of the country's major cities.

The likelihood of a delay to the parliamentary elections has grown following statements by NTC head Mustafa Abdul Jalil and the electoral commission that a delay may be necessary. If elections are delayed there will be a greater risk of political demonstration against the NTC, and calling for a quicker handover of power to an elected parliament.

Tripoli The security situation in Tripoli remains unchanged. There is an ongoing risk of clashes involving rival militia groups and there is likely to be an increase in political activism and demonstration with the potential for low level violence as parliamentary elections approach. If the elections are delayed, the risk will increase in line with the likely increase in levels of frustration that accompanies any major delays in the transition process.

AKE personnel on the ground reported a number of small-scale clashes in the city over the past week. One man was reportedly shot dead in central Tripoli, in the area that also contains the Radisson Hotel. The clash was reportedly part of a personal feud, which quickly became a family feud. Relatives of the deceased man reportedly carried out a number of retaliatory attacks on the properties of the other party's family, burning down two shops and a car garage. Personnel in the vicinity are advised to maintain vigilance, although there is not assessed to be any direct threat to foreign personnel from the incident.

The incident demonstrates the problems associated with the widespread presence of weapons in the country, which means that personal arguments can escalate quickly in to more serious feuds involving firearms. Personnel are advised to remain aware of this fact when in country, as well as the lack of any significant police presence, which limits the response capabilities available.

Benghazi The security situation in Benghazi remains the same. The risk of clashes between militia groups is lower than in Tripoli, although there have been a number of cases reported. Demonstrations are likely in the lead up to countrywide elections and could also occur if elections are delayed.

There have been a number of small-scale attacks targeting government assets, international diplomatic targets and local political demonstrations in the city, and the risk of similar incidents endures.

Air Malta has resumed services to Benghazi's Benina International Airport. It is the first European airline to resume services to Benghazi following the revolution and will be operating a twice weekly service, every Tuesday and Thursday.

BP Restarts Operations BP has moved closer to resuming operations in Libya amid a gradually improving security environment in the country. BP signed an exploration and production agreement with the government in 2007; however, operations were halted at the beginning of unrest in 2011. The company has two exploration blocs, one on-shore and another off-shore in the bay of Benghazi. Company executives stated recently that it could spend up to US$20bln over the next 10 years. Shell to Exit Libya Royal Dutch Shell became the first company in the post-revolutionary period to announce it was ending operations in Libya. A statement by the company said it would abandon drilled wells and stop exploration in its Libyan licences.

The reason for the move appears to be disappointing results in its exploration activities, meaning further exploration could not be economically justified. Despite the move Shell insisted it remained interested in a return to the country should the right opportunity arise and it is unlikely that instability or political uncertainty was the major factor in the company's departure.

Political Section National Transitional Council (NTC) leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil stated on 28 May that he expected elections to the national assembly to be delayed, as many of the candidates who have been blocked from running will appeal in court against the decision, meaning the elections will not be able to go ahead on schedule. The elections are currently scheduled for 19 June, but Jalil did not specify a likely new date.

The electoral commission has also hinted that a delay to the elections may be possible, leading to concerns among some ordinary Libyan's that the ruling council was attempting to entrench itself. Around 80 per cent of eligible voters had registered to take part in the elections by the time the registration process ended in May, and there is likely to be a lot of frustration if the elections are eventually delayed.

There is potential for protests against what some will see as the political elite attempting to tighten their grip and carve a long-term role for themselves, however necessary the delay happens to be.

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Construction News

Construction News
Released:  01/06/20122012-06-01

Deep inside Libya's Naufosa Mountains, in the Berber village of Gharyan, one can find a thousand unique troglodyte cave houses. These unusual dwellings are located 120 kilometers from the country's capital, Tripoli. The homes are dug six to seven meters vertically into the mountain, creating rooms circled around a central courtyard housing several families. Residents hope their unique village can attract tourists after the elections...

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Mina Monir
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Would like to see more info about tourism in Libya. It's a beautiful country that, through bureaucracy and isolation, has been ignored by the world for too long.

h4ppy
5 yearss ago

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  01/06/20122012-06-01
Word count:  212

Considerable progress in the Libyan oil industry boosted its production with new offers and prices.

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Peter Middleton (News)
The Libyan oil industry has recorded unprecedented production levels since the revolution in February 2011. Despite the pessimistic expectations of a late recovery, Libya has reached 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd), which puts it close to the pre-evolution rates. "We do sense a new spirit and a new energy of doing things," Fareed Salem, the vice president of business development for Conoco Phillips in the Middle East and North Africa, said at a conference in Dubai recently. "This is something that we had envisioned back in 2005 that in reality we were not able to do." Mr. Salem added. Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) stated, on Tuesday, that the 1.55 million bpd has been reached in a short period and has enhanced it’s exports. Libyan oil exports mounted to about 6.605 million barrels per week. According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Libya ranks eigth in terms of oil production among its 12 members. On the other hand, Libya’s NOC reduced its official selling price of Es Sider crude for July by 55 cents to a premium of 30 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, according to a price list obtained by Bloomberg News. The blends are priced in relation to Dated Brent, except Al-Jurf and Bouri, which are based on Urals in the Mediterranean.
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Construction News

Construction News
Released:  31/05/20122012-05-31
Word count:  250

The Thai Energy Conglomerate has approved a suggestion to pay for Thai labour in Libya withoil instead of cash.

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Mina Monir
The country’s support of the idea comes as an endeavour to help ease the impact of rising oil prices. According to the National Bureau of Thailand, Labour Minister Phadermchai Sasomsub said on Thursday that the ministry has been discussing with Thailand’s oil and gas giant, PTT, regarding the latter’s role in solving the problem of higher energy prices in Thailand. Mr. Phadermchai said that he has proposed negotiations with Libyan companies, which have hired Thai employees to work in the country, in the hope of convincing them to agree to pay wages in the form of oil instead of cash and to let PTT handle the payout for them. Initially, PTT executives have agreed with the idea and it is now the task of the Labour Ministry to pursue the negotiations, according to Mr. Phadermchai. In addition, he conceded that the ongoing unrest in Libya is making the situation too precarious to send Thai workers to resume work there. However, the Labour Minister asserted that as soon as the opportunity allows, the ministry will promptly facilitate the dispatch of Thai workers to Libya, through a government-to-government arrangement. In march 2011, the Thai Labour Minister evacuated more than 800 Thai workers from Libya during the violence that broke throughout the country. However, consecutive meetings were held between officials of Thailand and the new Libyan regime that resulted in reviving cooperation between the two countries, which included the return of Thai workers to Libya and restoring Libyan oil exports to Thailand.
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4 yearss ago

Construction News

Construction News

Welcome to Tin Neighborhood -- the graffiti says it all. Behind the wall lies a trailer home compound, east of the Libyan capital Tripoli. Many residents say the living standards on the compound have made life unbearable. Dozens of families, some of whom have been living in the compound for over 15 years, are demanding the Libyan government help improve their living conditions. "Conditions here are tragic; it is not fit for...

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Mina Monir
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  31/05/20122012-05-31
Word count:  1427

As Khaled looked out over the now quiet, olive-tree covered hills of Zintan, he recalled the fighting and destruction that rocked this area just a few short months ago. Zintan is a town of 40,000 people tucked into the Nafusa Mountains of northwest Libya. Six thousand Zintanis joined the armed opposition to oust dictator Moammar Gadhafi, forming one of the country’s most formidable militias.

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Stephanie Figgins
During the eight-month conflict, Zintan’s able-bodied boys and men joined the fighting, its businesses shut down, and electricity and water stopped flowing. Like in the rest of Libya, the economy came to a standstill. In less than one year, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by a staggering 60 percent.

For Khaled, who runs the local media center, nursing the economy of his town and his country back to health is among the most critical challenges facing the country’s transitional government.

The focus thus far has been on restoring oil production to pre-war levels. Libya’s oil minister said the country is now producing 1.6 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil, just short of the 1.77 million b/d the country was producing before the revolution.

Getting the oil sector up and running should indeed be a primary focus, as hydrocarbons have long dominated the Libyan economy; before the war, oil accounted for over 70 percent of GDP, 95 percent of exports, and nearly 90 percent of government revenue, as estimated by the International Monetary Fund.

Moreover, Libya supplies two percent of global output. That its particular brand of “sweet” crude, exported mainly to Europe but also to Asia and the United States, cannot be easily replaced makes it some of the most sought-after oil on international markets.

But some argue Libya’s economic recovery must go beyond restoring the pre-war status quo.

As Michael L. Ross, Professor of Political Science at UCLA, argues in his book The Oil Curse, countries “blessed” with abundant natural resources - particularly oil - also carry a heavy burden. He notes that an over-dependence on the oil sector correlates with a decline in the competitiveness of non-oil sectors, makes the economy vulnerable to swings in international commodity prices, and fosters nondemocratic governments. Indisputably, seemingly endless oil revenues helped keep Gadhafi in power for 42 years.

Moreover, little oil wealth trickled down to ordinary Libyans.

“One of the largest oil pipelines in Libya passed through here,” said Khaled, pointing to two long, white streaks running down the mountainside near his hometown, signaling the pipelines buried below. “But we didn’t benefit at all.”

The pipeline carries oil from the Awbari oilfield in the south to the al-Zawiya refinery in the north, near Tripoli. Opposition fighters shut it down in June 2011 in order to deprive Gadhafi of resources, a move that rebels say was critical to their victory. For Khaled, it was also an important symbolic act, in which regular people reclaimed a pipeline that quite literally bypassed them, funneling Libya’s most precious natural resource north for the benefit of the ruling elite.

Less hydrocarbons, more olives

Consequently, Libya’s post-conflict growth strategy must include a more equitable distribution of oil wealth, but as the IMF argues, it must also involve a reorientation of the economy away from dependence on hydrocarbons.

Olives have been an important facet of the economy in the Nafusa Mountain area for thousands of years. The Romans, whose ruins dot the landscape of Zintan, produced olive oil here and exported it to Rome. Olives are also a source of pride for Khaled, who showed me ancient olive presses and explained how to determine the age of an olive tree by counting the number of rings in its trunk. “Land isn’t just for making a living off of,” he said. “The land is our past, present, and future. Our grandfathers liberated the land, protected it.”

However, olives were among the agricultural commodities whose production declined with the 1958 discovery of oil, explains a 2006 report by the MEDFROL project, which analyzes the agricultural sectors of Mediterranean countries. Before 1958, agriculture was the country’s main source of revenue, making up about 30 percent of GDP. With the increase of oil production and exports in the 1960s, the size of the agriculture sector declined rapidly, comprising less than 5 percent of total GDP by 2005.

Now, local business owners and farmers are calling for reforms that would re-focus attention on the agricultural sector.

Said, 46, owns an olive press a few minutes from Zintan. He recently returned to work, having shut down his factory during the uprising to join the fight against Gadhafi. Now, he wants to get the modern machinery inaccessible before. Under Gadhafi, Said and other farmers in the region were forced to pick their crop by hand, a difficult and time-consuming process that, Said explains, was part of the regime’s strategy to keep its people economically suppressed. With new machines, he hopes he will be able to produce more olive oil and expand his business.

Mohamed, 78, inherited his olive farm from his great-grandfather. After finishing secondary school, a distinction only few achieved in the days of his youth, he joined Libya’s bloated civil service. After three decades, Mohamed grew tired of the rampant corruption in his office, so he went to work on his family’s olive farm. But no industry was spared from the corrupt arm of Gadhafi’s government, he said. Most of the oil produced from Mohamed’s olives was sold to the government at reduced prices, and little was made available to regular Libyans.

With the ouster of the regime, he is optimistic that corruption will give way to transparency. And if he could set up irrigation systems and import sophisticated machinery, he would be relieved of trucking in water and harvesting the olives manually.

Getting former fighters back to work

An over-dependence on oil has also contributed to the problem of structural unemployment, a critical factor leading to the uprising against Gadhafi’s oppressive regime. As a capital-intensive industry, the oil sector provides limited jobs. And because oil revenues sustained the government, Gadhafi dedicated few resources to developing human capital.

“Gadhafi wanted us to be so preoccupied with looking for food, a house, a car, that we could not think about other things like higher education,” said Khaled. Before the revolution, he made just 175 Libyan dinar a month, around 140 USD. “A suit costs 120 dinar,” he said. “So the first month of work, you buy a suit. The second month, shoes. After 20 years, you can buy a car.”

Libya’s unemployment problem persists. “Libya has a young population - close to 50 percent are below 25 years of age - with a large influx of entrants to the labor market expected in the next decade,” notes the IMF. Diversification of the economy can serve as a means to create employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

Although many Zintanis have laid down their weapons, the boys and men who fought are now looking to re-integrate into normal life, and they need jobs. But first, Libyan youth will have to be trained in new skill sets to meet the demand of companies that will begin to invest in the economy. “To meet the demand, it will be important to establish training programs for workers and job seekers, and to reform the education system to reflect new needs, such as language and computer skills,” urged the IMF’s August 2012 report Libya Beyond the Revolution: Challenges and Opportunities.

-Possibilities ahead

Re-focusing the Libyan economy on non-hydrocarbon sectors is not just about making the economy more stable or equitable. As Khaled indicates, it is also about reawakening the imagination of many Libyans who had been oppressed for decades under Gadhafi.

Zintan’s olive oil industry represents just one facet of the unprecedented economic opportunities available in the post-Gadhafi era. Khaled is floating many other ideas to build up the local tourism and trade industries, both of which, says the IMF, hold many opportunities because of the country’s “rich archeological sites, Mediterranean climate, and proximity to major European markets.”

Khaled imagines building a hotel and a restaurant to cater to tourists that would come to see the Nafusa Mountain’s historical treasures, including its Roman ruins.

The economic challenge ahead is great, and is complicated by the fact that Libya does not yet have a permanent government to carry out long-term policies. In June, the country will elect members to a national assembly tasked with drafting the constitution. Once the constitution passes a referendum, parliamentary and presidential elections will follow - a process likely to take around two years. All of this, amid persistent fears over basic security in a country saturated with weapons.

Regardless of what business ventures Khaled undertakes, for him the economic changes ahead are about achieving something more basic, something that was not possible under the Gadhafi regime: “We want jobs, salaries, to get married, to have babies. We want a normal life. A human life."

[Voice of America]
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Construction News

Construction News
Released:  30/05/20122012-05-30
Word count:  212

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) officials stated that they are pursuing a plan to expand activity in Libya

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Mina Monir
Leanne Harwood , vice president commercial, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, told Hotelier Middle East that the group is looking for opportunities in Libya. The plan would be to open for business around 2017, when the country is more economically and politically secure. She said: “We are absolutely actively pursuing opportunities in Libya because ultimately, like Bahrain, in the long term – once the country has got its infrastructure in a better place – airports, roads etc., then we’d like to be there and help Libya grow into a new country as they push forward. It really is a country of opportunity.” Harwood added: “I don’t know when our first property will open there, but I’d suggest that in the next five years you’d see something come into fruition, but who knows? It all depends on how fast they move with the infrastructure.” IHG currently manages the Al Waddan Hotel Tripoli, which dates back to the 1930s, and signed a management contract in 2006 for InterContinental Tripoli, but this was put on hold due to the unrest. IHG had started building two hotels in Tripoli and Benghazi but the construction process halted due to uprisings in February 2011. However, it is expected that IHG will revive these projects within the coming five years.
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Anonymous
5 yearss ago

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  30/05/20122012-05-30
Word count:  578

An Air Malta technical team is making a final review of fuel bunkering facilities in Libya with a view to buying fuel from its North African neighbour, which on average sells fuel cheaper than European airports.

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Mina Monir
Airline CEO Peter Davies said the airline was very keen to take advantage of fuel savings from its flights to Libya but the airline needed to make some procedural verifications first. “Obviously, fuel is critically important but we have to make sure the conditions upon which it is delivered are correct,” he said. “I would like to think that we could start lifting fuel out of Tripoli or out of Libya as soon as possible.” The issue of securing a fuel deal at competitive rates with Libya was raised last week by the Airline Pilots Association when it also complained that it was not being consulted on the ongoing restructuring of the beleaguered airline. Mr Davies insisted that the pilots’ association, along with the other unions, was given regular updates on the financial situation and the changes being made. “Certainly, at a forum two weeks ago... we gave (pilots) the information in terms of the fuel savings that we are making,” he said. “Our commercial director, our finance director and our HR director made a presentation to the pilots. I think there were about 70 there.” Mr Davies was speaking in Benghazi soon after Air Malta’s first flight in four years landed there yesterday morning. The airline will fly twice a week to Libya’s second city. The airline is hoping to take advantage of the political ties established by the government with the new Libyan administration following the humanitarian assistance Malta gave Libya during last year’s conflict and a new fuel deal falls squarely within this strategy.

But the airline’s management also intends to look at the rest of Africa, not just Libya, for strategic expansion after steadying the company through the restructuring. “I think we have to look at other parts of Africa to see what opportunities there are, so I am looking south and east in terms of our strategic direction. “But the first thing to do... let’s get the airline fixed, let’s break even and, obviously, the Benghazi route is an important part of that development,” Mr Davies said. The service to Benghazi comes after flights to the Libyan capital Tripoli were upgraded earlier this month to daily from three times a week. The move represents another step towards consolidating the airline’s position in Libya after the revolution and also a likely boost in revenue. Most passengers to and from Libya tend to be business people travelling club class. In the past six months, the airline carried just shy of 22,000 passengers on the Tripoli route and is projecting to carry another 30,000 over the summer, on top of another 8,000 it is planning to handle on the Benghazi route. Mr Davies stressed that the Malta connection offered Libyans a gateway to Europe and flights were timed to facilitate such connections. The flights, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, leave Malta at 4. 40 a.m., arrive at 6.05 a.m., leave Benghazi at 7.05 a.m. and arrive in Malta at 8.25 a.m. But there are challenges to increased business. Benghazi airport director Jamal Agili pointed out that he would like to see visas processed quicker. In fact, the Maltese consulate in Benghazi is flooded, issuing about 500 visas a week, as it is practically the only European representation issuing Schengen visas. The next best alternative, Turkish airlines, offers the advantage of visa-free travel to Turkey but Libyan nationals would still need to obtain a Schengen visa to be able to travel to Europe.

[Source: Times of Malta]
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  30/05/20122012-05-30
Word count:  627

(Reuters) - BP (BP.L) is to resume exploration activities in Libya that it suspended because of last year's uprising, re-starting a relationship which under ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi landed the firm in the centre of a political storm.

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Mina Monir
BP's return is a milestone in the recovery of Libya's energy sector, though this was tempered by an announcement from Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) that it would pull out of fields in Libya on the grounds that they were not worth developing.

BP closed down operations in Libya and withdrew its expatriate workers in February last year, days after protests broke out in eastern Libya which with help from NATO warplanes and missiles eventually forced Gaddafi from power.

The oil firm follows other majors, including Eni (ENI.MI) and Total (TOTF.PA) in restarting Libya operations, despite lingering worries about security and the possibility the new authorities will try to re-negotiate contracts signed under Gaddafi.

The head of Libya's National Oil Corporation, Nuri Berruien, and Michael Daly, BP's executive president for exploration, agreed in Tripoli on Tuesday to lift force majeure, the legal mechanism under which BP suspended its operations last year.

The agreement was a "significant milestone in BP's plans to return to the exploration of onshore and offshore blocks," Daly said in a statement.

BP's then chief executive Tony Hayward travelled to Tripoli in 2007 to sign a $900 million contract giving the company the right to explore onshore and offshore fields in Libya, home of Africa's largest proven crude reserves.

But the deal quickly became entwined in a furious political row about Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Megrahi died in Tripoli earlier this month, three years after Scottish authorities released him on the grounds he was terminally ill and did not have long to live. He had returned to a hero's welcome in Tripoli.

Megrahi's release caused a storm of anger in the United States, where many of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing were from. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee launched an inquiry into whether there was any connection between Megrahi's release and BP winning the exploration deal in Libya.

The company and the British government have always denied any connection between the two, although BP did say it lobbied for Megrahi's transfer to Libya.

SECURITY SITUATION 'MANAGEABLE'

Libya now is preparing for its first ever democratic elections, but the new government is weak and struggling to keep in check armed volunteer militias.

A BP spokesman said security was going to be "the determining factor on how quickly we move."

"At the moment we feel security and safety is sufficiently manageable."

It was likely to be months before BP had everything in place to re-start its exploration work, the spokesman said.

"The first thing we need to do is re-establish the contracts for drilling and logistics," he said.

"We need to get contractors back in for the onshore and offshore drilling .. Then it's back to work as soon as possible."

Shell said its decision to pull out of its Libyan contracts did not show any lack of faith in the oil sector, and said it would keep an office open in Libya to look into new deals.

In a statement, the company said it would abandon drilled wells and stop exploration on its two Libyan licenses. It said its departure had nothing to do with security issues and was taken on a purely commercial basis.

"Despite an extensive seismic and drilling campaign in these licenses, results have been disappointing and further exploration cannot be economically justified," a Shell spokesman said. "We have agreed to actively pursue new upstream business opportunities."

Asked about Shell's decision, NOC chief Berruien told Reuters by telephone: "All I can say right now is that Shell is not withdrawing from Libya. They are staying."

(Additional reporting by Tom Bergin and Jessica Donati in London and Ali Shuaib in Tripoli; editing by Jason Neely)
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Construction News

Construction News

The Minister of Planning Eissa al-Twayger affirmed that the Libyan state is capable of launching real development and sustaining it.

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Mina Monir
In his speech given at the inauguration of a workshop on development policies in the southern region, held in the city of Sabha, Mr. Twayjer stated that the target of this development is the welfare of the Libyan citizen. He also stated that establishing a modern planning system takes into consideration the domestic and international factors in achieving this development. Sustaining this development, according to Mr. Twayjer, is achieved by securing the optimum employment of resources and this is precisely what the Libyan state is working on. Mr. Twayjer explained that man is the target of development and its means at the same time. He also emphasized the vital role of civil society organizations in planning and executing the development steps. Mr. Twayjer shed light on the historical background of the development process in Libya by saying that since Libya’s independence in the 1950’s it set out three major plans of development before the September coup. These plans led to the improvement and flourishing of Libya and especially in the sectors of local industries and commerce. Twayjer added that the former regime released some laws in the 1970’s that halted the development process in both the public and private sectors and caused the decline of the Libyan economic system. He also indictaed in his speech that the ministry has studied a number of projects to face the urgent needs of the southern region as well as fulfilling the needs of every Libyan citizen.
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Construction News

Construction News
Released:  29/05/20122012-05-29
Word count:  483

Resolution to approve partial repayment of a €13.2 million loan taken out by the company to meet creditor payments during the civil war in Libya in 2011

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Mina Monir
The board of directors of Mediterranean Investments Holding plc will call investors to approve a change to the use of bond proceeds, for the partial repayment of a €13.2-million loan taken out by the company to meet creditor payments during the war in Libya last year. The bond holders’ meeting will be convened on 11 June, 2012.

According to the MIH bonds prospectus, up to €31 million of the bond proceeds were to be utilised to fund the company’s investment in Tripoli’s Medina Tower Project through its 25-percent equity interest in the joint venture company. “Since the projected timelines for the Medina Tower project were revised due to the outbreak of hostilities, the board of directors estimates that part of the company’s equity contribution in that project will not be required before mid-2014. “In view of these revised timelines, the board is proposing that €8 million of the bond proceeds be applied in partial reduction of a loan the company entered into in 2011, to meet the payment of capital creditors during the period of civil war in Libya.” The Medina Tower Project is a mixed-use development in the centre of Tripoli comprising residential and office space together with retail areas within a 200,000 square metres of built up area over 40 floors and an additional four underground floors for car parking. The MIH board said that following the issue of the bonds in July 2010, the company faced a severely challenging period as a result of the war in Libya between February and September 2011. “The dramatic events that unfolded over that period and the consequent uncertainty led the company to re-consider its priorities, adopting a defensive strategy of protecting its assets in Libya from the risks and perils of war.” The environment in Libya during the protracted civil strife required the company to protect, as far as was practicably possible in a time of war, the company’s investment and assets in Libya. The development of the Medina Tower project was suspended pending the cessation of hostilities, while MIH shifted its focus on the significant impact that the events in Libya inevitably had on the ongoing business and operations at Palm City Residences, a project that constitutes the sole revenue generator for the company. “With the outbreak of the civil war, operations at Palm City Residences were significantly reduced with tenants evacuating the country and terminating their lease agreements. This has resulted in the financial year 2011 being an acutely difficult and challenging year for the company. Its cash flow was severely strained and to meet its on-going contractual obligations the company had no alternative but to raise a loan totalling €13.2 million,” MIH said. Over the last few months, the sense of stability in Libya has allowed MIH to resume marketing of the units and restart operations at Palm City Residences. Occupancy levels in March 2012 reached 75 percent, levels that are estimated to reach 90 percentby July 2012. [source Malta Today]
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Business News

Business News
Released:  29/05/20122012-05-29
Word count:  422

Libya's LAP Green Networks has taken back full control of Uganda Telecom following the lifting of United Nations sanctions on all Libyan-owned businesses across Africa early this month.

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Mina Monir
Uganda Telecom is one of four telecommunications companies under LAP Green, the telecom investment arm of Libya's Africa Investment Portfolio -- one of the legacies of Moammar Gadhafi, who was deposed and killed last year. Uganda Telecom, like LAP's Africa operations in Zambia, Ivory Coast and South Sudan, was subject to U.N. sanctions last year after the uprising that overthrew Gadhafi. Wafik Al-Shater, LAP Green's chairman, said the group's directors had been fully reinstated as Uganda Telecom board members and have resumed their management responsibilities of the company. LAP Green controls 69 percent of the fixed and mobile telecom company, with the Ugandan government owning the rest. "I and the entire team are delighted to have our full board rights as majority shareholders of Uganda Telecom restored, and subsequent to the recent UTL board meeting on the 21st of May, we're now pleased to resume full operational management control," a company press statement quoted Al-Shater as saying. Donald Nyakairu, Uganda Telecom's acting managing director, said the company expects to invest US$60 million and raise mobile subscriber numbers to 2.2 million from 1.6 million now. He added that the company will expand its infrastructure. The U.N. sanctions paralyzed the company's normal operations. Analysts predicted a collapse of the company or a takeover as it was weighed down by especially interconnection debt when its assets were frozen, but it survived, helped partly by its sheer size and historical position. Uganda Telecom was once part of Uganda Posts and Telecommunications, the state monopoly that was split into two to create the new company when the telecom sector was deregulated. The company, which operates a 3G network, stayed afloat leveraging some of its core businesses, especially wide area bandwidth on data gateways, Internet service provision as well as a mobile money transfer service. Al-Shater said reinstatement of the board at Uganda Telecom represents yet another step forward for LAP Green in the restoration of the group's fixed and mobile telecoms assets across Africa. He said LAP Green over the past few months has developed a good understanding of what is required to restore its assets across Africa. "In addition to Uganda we are driving positive change in Ivory Coast (Oricel) and South Sudan (Gemtel)," he said. "We are also evaluating our options in other territories where we have licenses." Al-Shater said LAP Green has put in place a team of telecom professionals who are leading the company as part of its rebuilding work and promised to recruit and expand the team with talented individuals. [Source: PC Advisor]
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Business News

Business News
Released:  28/05/20122012-05-28
Word count:  403

The UK and Libya will work together to develop a modern and reliable communications infrastructure in Libya, spreading the practice of open government.

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Mina Monir
Full text of the Memorandum of Intentions on e-Libya signed by UK Minister Lord Green and the Libyan Minister of Communications: The Government of Libya,

and

The Government of the United Kingdom

(hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Participants”),

Desiring to cooperate in support of the E-Libya initiative’s goals of improving quality of life in Libya through technology; and catalyzing the development of a Libyan knowledge economy.

Desiring, therefore, to cooperate and benefit from the warm and friendly relations between both governments, to leverage the extensive knowledge of the UK government in the following areas: 1- Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategy 2- Establishing a regulatory framework 3- Physical ICT infrastructure 4- Value-added ICT applications, including Open Government, e-Government, e-Commerce and e-Learning

Sharing a common goal of promoting open government and transparency in Libya, and recognizing the role E-Libya will play in the advancement of that goal, so that Libya may in future join the Open Government Partnership;

Intend as follows:

1. This Memorandum of Intentions is not legally binding and does not constitute an obligation of funds.

2. The Participants, based on the experience, technical expertise and best practices in the implementation of cooperation for the E-Libya Initiative, intend to conduct joint activities of technical cooperation, with a view to:

a. Identifying opportunities on mutually decided terms of enhanced investment opportunities in the country, responsive government activities, increased access to technology; and b. Strengthening the infrastructure and technological innovation systems of Libya, by means of coordinated use of personal, technological and human resources.

3. Activities to be carried out may include:

a. Sending technical experts from the United Kingdom, and other governments and international private sector organizations to develop proposals, provide technical and strategic guidance, training, and education, as well as monitor projects and evaluate results;

b. Assisting in improving physical infrastructure capabilities, promoting affordable access to the internet, designing a formation of policies to govern the emerging telecommunications market; and

c. Other forms of cooperation mutually determined among the Participants.

4. The Participants intend to assign the planning and direction of the E-Libya initiative arising from this Memorandum of Intentions to the Libyan Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

5. The Participants intend to cooperate towards giving appropriate publicity to the cooperation provided.

This Memorandum of Intentions is to be effective as of the date of its signature.

Signed at Lancaster House, London on 24 May 2012 in two original copies, in the English and Arabic languages."

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Political News

Political News
Released:  28/05/20122012-05-28

Libya's defence minister says he wants to create a new national army of 100,000 soldiers. The force will include members of the old army, as well as former fighters who helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh reports from the Libyan town of Az-Zawiya.

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Mina Monir
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Find out what contracts are on offer in Libya
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