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Shell: too early to return to Libya

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Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is keeping an ear close to the gound in Libya, but says it’s still much too early to consider returning there, a spokesman told Dutch news agency ANP.

Shell withdrew its personnel from Libya earlier this year because of heightening political tension. The company was conducting exploration for natural gas with the help of two drilling towers.

“We are watching the situation carefully and monitoring it to see when one can make contact [with the rebels] and when we can go back in and operate,” said Shell. “It’s too early to make a call.”

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant signed a deal with the Libyan government in 2005 to explore and develop five areas in the Sirte basin, as well as to upgrade a liquefied natural gas plant at Marsa al-Brega, on Libya’s Mediterranean coast. Shell was one of the first energy companies to sign an exploration deal with Libya after international sanctions were lifted in 2004.

Global share prices have responded well to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s potential downfall as the rebel assault gains critical momentum. ENI, the largest foreign oil operator in Libya, rose 5.6 percent. Shell, BG Group and Galp Energia are up between 1.1 and 2.7 percent.

(jn/imm)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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