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Bilateral US-Arab Chamber, Libya’s Petroleum Law Committee Talks at “The Libya Dialogue”

Source: Algeria Times 2/15/2014, Location: Africa

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His Excellency Oil Minister Dr. Abdulbari Arousi and the Libyan Petroleum Law Review Committee seek industry input on development of a New Petroleum Law with intent to attract renewed business investment under broad transparency.

Libya Oil Minister Arousi, ranking members of Libya’s Petroleum Law Review Committee, and chief executives plus senior leadership from the largest international oil companies and oilfield service firms in the world drawn from 14 countries, representing more 40 organizations, convened in a private roundtable meeting in Istanbul, Turkey over the past 3 days to participate in “The Libya Dialogue.”

Under the mutual theme “Shared Destiny. Shared Responsibilities.” the purpose of this three day private dialogue planned and executed by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, was to afford select international oil companies (IOC), oilfield service companies (OSC) and law firms, each with experience and current infrastructure investment in Libya and similar emerging economies, an opportunity to offer face-to-face input into Libya’s newly proposed Petroleum Law before it is finalized by the Petroleum Law Review Committee, Libya’s Ministry of Oil, and then offered for consideration to be enacted into law by Libya’s General National Congress.

Libya Oil Minister Arousi stated, “The Bilateral US-Arab Chamber did an extraordinary job assembling this impressive list of global leaders, each of whom provided us valuable first-hand insight into ways Libya can improve its petroleum regime structure, assist our Committee to propose a new and comprehensive Petroleum Law transparent and fair to all, leading to an improved investment environment for stakeholders involved in development of Libya’s vast hydrocarbons.”

United States Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones, in a keynote address at Dinner stated, “The United States supports the Libyan government's efforts to peacefully resolve the situation of forced oil terminal closures. Libya must resume its oil production fully to support the country's self-determination in its economic trajectory. It is also crucial to the country's stability and economic well-being that all Libyans share in the wealth generated by the country's hydrocarbon assets. Drafting a new petroleum law is a critical step toward achieving these goals, and can help Libya create a more transparent, fair and efficiently managed hydrocarbon sector that attracts greater investment from international companies - many of whom are in attendance at this gathering today and eager to cooperate more closely with the Oil Ministry, NOC and service providers.”

Aida Araissi, Founder and CEO of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber was pleased to note that, “Under the leadership of our Chairman, Mr. David L. Phillips, we included but were able to reach far beyond our traditional membership of U.S. and Middle East oil & gas partners’ ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Marathon, Hess and Occidental and were honored to include leadership participation from BP (UK), RWE (Germany), Shell (Netherlands), Wintershall (Germany), GDF Suez (France), REPSOL (Spain), TOTAL (France), OMV (Austria), Petrobras (Brazil), PT Medco Energi (Indonesia) and Tatneft (Russia) – to name a few.”

Araissi continued, “We were able to call upon our international law firm members’ Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Patton Boggs LLP, and Murr Yanochik PLLC, supported by the world-class accounting, tax and professional advisory firm KPMG. International oilfield service firms included Schlumberger, the President of whom moderated the OSC session. Other notable participants inclided executives from Fluor, Petrofac, Emerson, AF Mercados EMI, ArabTec Holding, Interflote, CECA, and DORCE.”

Bilateral Chairman David L. Phillips remarked, “I was pleased to welcome U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones who shared critical past experiences during our Dialogue.” Phillips continued, “I was thoroughly impressed by the quality and intellect of Libya’s Petroleum Law Review Committee chaired by Najmi A. Karem and closely supported during the entire Dialogue by distinguished fellow committee members Abdudayem M. Elbarasi, Muhsen M. Ali Khazam, Ali Ahmed Elsaleh, and Dr Abdalla Shamia among a dozen other committee member participants from Libya.”

Petroleum Law Review Committee Chairman Najmi A. Karem remarked, in closing, “We would like to thank the Chamber team for your assistance and coordination to launch this important event. My Team members and I are very pleased with the results. It was definitely a great help to the Committee to expedite the completion of drafting the new Libyan petroleum law. This couldn't be so without your efforts and dedication. I thank you again for making it a success.”

Libya Ambassador to Turkey His Excellency Abdurazzaq Mokhtar, actively participating in The Libya Dialogue, remarked that, “This is truly a unique gathering. I encourage His Excellency and Petroleum Law Review Committee to act with diplomacy, listen closely to the valuable feedback and insight that our world energy operators are willing to offer us.”

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