Libya announced on Tuesday it will sign a 900 million dollar exploration deal with energy giant BP, which London says plans to return to the north African country after a 33 year absence.
"We are going to sign with BP an oil exploration and prospecting accord on Libyan territory worth 900 million dollars," said the head of Libya's National Oil Corporation Shokri Ghanem.
The announcement came ahead of a visit to the oil-rich nation by Prime Minister Tony Blair who is starting a tour of Africa before he leaves office next month.
"BP will be announcing that they're going back into Libya," a spokesman for Blair said, confirming that the outgoing premier was due to hold talks with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
There has not yet been any official confirmation from BP itself.
The OPEC member is the African continent's second largest oil producer at 1.7 million barrels per day. It also has natural gas reserves estimated at 1,314 billion cubic metres.
The Financial Times reported in January 2006 that BP had entered negotiations over a multi-billion dollar gas exploration and development agreement in Libya.
It said discussions involved a liquefied natural gas project that could supply the North American or European markets.
Last Mod: 29 Mayıs 2007, 16:39