Security fears lead oil subcontractor to pull out of Libya

mabrukFrench oil subcontractor Ponticelli has pulled out of Libya’s Mabruk field, citing a lack of security and fear of an attack on its employees as the main reason behind its decision

The company pulled out the last of its 43 employees working on the field in the Sirte Basin last month, according to the Libya Herald. The decision follows the In Amenas gas plant attacks in Algeria in January 2013, in which 40 people were killed.

Ponticelli was a subcontractor for Mabruk Oil Operations, a joint venture between the National Oil Company (NOC) and France’s Total. Its main office in Tripoli is to be closed in a few weeks' time with one Libyan representative set to remain in the country. Mabruk has decided not to renew its contract with Ponticelli, which ended on 31 March 2013.

Ahmed Abdusalam, spokesperson of Ministry of Economy, said, “Libya regrets but understands the decision. There is no reason for employees from foreign companies to die for Libya. I cannot force them to stay. So, I cannot feel anger, only sadness. Right now Libya is as secure as it can be.”

Michel Casals, president of Franco-Libyan Chamber of Commerce, said that he was surprised by the decision. However, some French companies complained about the Libyan market’s current lethargy.

Serge Badran, president of Libya section of France’s Comité National des Conseillers du Commerce Extérieur (CNCCEF – National Committee of Foreign Trade Advisers), said, “The recovery of the public contracts is not the priority for the state. I have noticed an erosion of patience among businessmen.”

According to the Franco-Libyan Chamber of Commerce, French company activities in Libya were worth US$523.8mn during the first eleven months of 2012.


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