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Libya to Honour Existing Oil Contracts

Source: Reuters 3/16/2011, Location: Africa

Libya's government will honour existing contracts with Western oil companies after a violent revolt cut output in the OPEC nation, the head of Libya's National Oil Corporation said.

The comments appeared at odds with remarks from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who slammed Western powers and said Germany was the only one with a chance of doing business with Libyan oil in the future.

"We have our contracts with them. We will honour our commitments and I'm sure that they will honour their commitments," NOC Chairman Shokri Ghanem told Reuters.

Oil companies pulled out staff and shut operations in what is usually Africa's third-largest producer due to the uprising against Gaddafi's rule, leading to a sharp reduction in output.

Italy's Eni earlier said it did not believe its business ties with Libya had been damaged by the current turmoil. Other oil firms declined to comment on any plans to return to Libya.

Ghanem said last week Libya's oil production had fallen to about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 1.6 million bpd, or almost 2 percent of world supply, before the crisis.

He said he expected output to recover at a slow pace.

"To come back to normal, it will take some time. But we are working hard on it. Production will be coming up bit by bit."

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