Guest Post: Unseemly Scramble For Libya’s Post-Gaddafi Oil Assets Underway

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John C.K. Daly

Unseemly Scramble for Libya’s Post-Gaddafi Oil Assets Underway

While NATO members, led by France, piously proclaimed at the onset of their military offensive in Libya that their concerns were solely humanitarian, a covert tussle to gain a commanding lead in developing the country’s energy riches in light of Colonel Gaddafi’s departure is well underway.

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95 percent of export earnings, 25 percent of GDP, and 80 percent of government revenue.

Prior to the outbreak of conflict, Libya was exporting about 1.3-1.4 million barrels per day from production estimated at roughly 1.79 million barrels per day, of which approximately 280,000 barrels per day were indigenously consumed. But analysts believe that with reconstruction Libya could soon be exporting 1.6 million barrels per day of high-quality, light crude.

But current production is the proverbial mere drop in the bucket. Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa with 42 billion barrels of oil and over 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Causing oil company executives from Houston to Beijing to drool on their Gucci loafers, only 25 percent of Libya’s territory has been explored to date for hydrocarbons.

Libya is already Europe’s single largest oil supplier, the second largest oil producer in Africa and the continent’s fourth largest natural gas supplier and already dominates the Southern Mediterranean’s petroleum sector. According to the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), more than 50 international oil companies are already present in the Libyan market.

So, peering into Libya’s future, who’s actually ahead?

France, apparently.

On 3 April a letter was allegedly sent by Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) to a coalition partner, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, which mentioned that France would take "35 percent of crude exchange for its total and permanent support" of the NTC. France’s Liberation daily reported on Thursday that it had a copy of the letter, which stated that the NTC’s Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam, would negotiate the deal with France. In 2010 France was the second purchaser of Libyan oil after Italy, with over 15 percent of its “black gold” imported from Tripoli.

Zut alors!

The number one National Transition Council, Moustapha Abdeljalil recently reported that the States would be rewarded" according to support "given to the insurgents.

While NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil has not hidden the fact that the NTC would assign a higher priority for reconstruction and the allocation of oil contracts to countries that supported their uprising, remarking that nations would be rewarded "according to the support" given to the insurgents, the NTC’s UK representative, Guma al-Gamaty, said that future oil contracts would be granted "on the basis of merit, not patronage. The contracts will be concluded in a transparent manner. "

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe solemnly denied during a radio interview any knowledge of a "formal" or specific deal but brightly added that it would be "logical" for countries like France, which helped the NTC in its struggle against Gaddafi, to take part in reconstruction.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy was the major European advocate for armed intervention in Libya and his administration was the first officially to recognize the NTC as "the sole, legitimate representative of the Libyan people" and the country’s sole governmental authority, as well as lobbying other nations to recognize the NTC.

Seeking a share of “la gloire,” France was also the first state to commence attacks on 19 March against Gaddafi’s armed forces in Benghazi and along with fellow NATO member Britain, have since provided the majority of the military equipment and personnel used during NATO’s operations in Libya. Going into grey areas of international law in its eagerness to oust Gaddafi France also supplied some weaponry to opposition forces in Libya, a move that came under harsh criticism because of the total arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council on arms deliveries to any side in the conflict.

NTC’s Paris-based envoy Mansour Sayf al-Nasr denied that such a letter had been sent or that any such pledge had been given. But no one was backpedalling more furiously than Information Minister Shammam, who intoned that such an arrangement was unthinkable.

“It's a joke. It's false,” Shammam said.

Well, if you cannot believe an Information Minister, who can you trust? Sleazy journalists?  It will certainly be interesting to see how the issue plays out in the days ahead, and if France does indeed get it 35 percent cut of the loot, which at present production rates, would average about 500,000 barrels per day.

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Hugh G Rection's picture


This wasn't about Oil or Gold... It was about freedom. 


Oh regional Indian's picture

Actually, it's as much if not more about the water.

Heard of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer? World's largest Fossil Water Aquifer.

Wrote about it not 20 minutes ago.

This Libya thing is much deeper than anything obvious and on th esurface, literally and figuratively.


Hugh G Rection's picture

Makes me happy I hit an artesian well a few years back.  All the time/effort in stacking, freshwater may be the real commodity.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Indeed. Keep in on the quiet though. If in the Us, gubbermint owns it. ;-)


silvertrain's picture

There isnt any "may" to it..It will be the commodity of the future..

Stumpy's picture

Well American Water Works (AWK) is the best performing equity in my portfolio (aside from PM). Sure it's a utility, but damn its solid.

Joe Sixpack's picture

Invest in desalination membranes and live near the ocean, a salt lake or the salton sea.

AldousHuxley's picture

95% of libya's export earnings is oil. PIIGS import tons of oil from Libya. This is for Euro bailout.

% of total crude import from Libya:
Austria 21.2%
France 15.7%
Germany 7.7%
Greece 14.6%
Ireland 23.3%
Italy 22.0%
Netherlands  2.3%
Spain 12.1%
Switzerland 18.7%
United Kingdom 8.5%
United States 0.5%

LawsofPhysics's picture

Sure, what is actually delivered is all that matters.

macholatte's picture



Isn't that where the tax payers are sold a bunch of lies in order to justify the wasting of their resources in the destruction of a whole lot of real estate and infrastructure for the benefit of the kleptocrats and then the tax payers are sold a bunch of lies in order to justify the wasting of their resources to rebuild that which was destroyed for the benefit of the kleptocrats?

Anonymouse's picture

Makes you wonder why the US ever got involved at all

silvertrain's picture

because we all tied together..why do we continue to bailout foreign banks? why did the rebels stop in the middle of a civil war to setup a central bank?

eureka's picture

1  To get 30,000 to 50,000 Chinese engineers etc. out of Libya.

2  US "owes" Europe for participating in the coalitions in Afghanistan and Iraq - against EU self-interest.

3  US' Middle- & Far-East wars are to secure USD hegemony from replacement by EUR.

4  UK is US proxy and conduit in all EU continental interests. 

5  US maintains Big Brother status over Europe by thus "gracefully" lending EU some small muscle.

6 EU will "reward" US with some extended "submissiveness" - i.e. support USD hegemony for yet a while.

Give & Take - Fair Exchange - or some proximity thereof.

Business, Bitchez!

RockyRacoon's picture

Lemme guess......  Syrian oil reserves are about ZERO?  I guess they could be thankful for that small favor.

Flakmeister's picture

Actaully Rock, Syria produces about 300,000 bpd.... none for export though..

RockyRacoon's picture

I think that much is burned on the Dallas freeways 7-9AM on Fridays?

Hephasteus's picture

What syria has doesn't matter. What it doesn't have is what matters. It doesn't have a rothchids controlled central bank.

Herman Strandschnecke's picture

Err, I think the figures for UK and France are maybe outdated?

PY-129-20's picture

Under the Surface. Like that underground volcano that is getting louder and louder with every passing day, ORI. Hundreds of little earthquakes (4.0) in the recent months and magma is rising, a volcano that was long forgotten, slept for over 300.000 years. Local people are alarmed, scientists are surprised of the amounts of Helium-3 (never seen before in such amounts in Central Europe - comparable to the volcano Aetna)

That would be the ultimate black swan. Ha! But scientists say it could take thousands of years. According to local people there, it seems to speed up lately though...louder and stronger...,1518,784468,00.html

Oh regional Indian's picture

Fascinating PY. Thanks for the link. The picture tells the story.

looks like a lot of long buried stuff is coming to surface now, eh? Facinating times.


formadesika3's picture

But how does France exploit that water? I'm not sure I understand how that would work.

Oh regional Indian's picture

Can you foresee a world where water is the new oil? Think _____ tankers, _____ pipelines, _____ wars..... like that. Plus, France is not the sole victor, not by a long shot and even victory si not yet a done deal. This is more like the Baby Bush on A carrier shamelessly saing mission accomplished.



Bobbyrib's picture

If the US is really thinking about water this far in advance, why would they allow fracking and the poisoning of our own water supply? I think it's more about oil than water.

Oh regional Indian's picture

There are multiple angles to it, no? The US has a strategic presence in the ME for Oil? Similarly.... Control is as important as usage, right? Geopolitically anyways?

And this is elite water...underground aquifer, pure. And the Good Colnel had all the pumps and pipelines in place already to "mine" the aquifer anyways. It's what was feeding the greening of Libya.


formadesika3's picture

The ancient Roman province of Africa (littoral area of Tunisia and Libya) was the "breadbasket" of ancient Rome. When the Vandals seized this area, the Roman Empire was doomed. I still prefer the oil angle however. Occam's Razor.

LawsofPhysics's picture

All this talk of moving all this water around by pipeline and boat is bullshit.  If the oil is gone, what are you using as FUEL to generate the ENERGY to move the water?  I irregate, moving water around is expensive, even when you are moving it out of your own aquifers and cisterns.  Come on ORI, you can do better.  The price paid on both will rise simutaneously.  

Oh regional Indian's picture

Laws Of P, I suggest you google and study up one Viktor Schauberger! :-)

He pretty much broke all th elasws of physics, with Water! 


e2thex's picture

This is the century of potable water. China has lakes that are yellow in appearance oozing yellow gas.  At some point people will take notice. (It's not linked to industrial factories.)

e2thex's picture

cyanobacterial blooms...

tip e. canoe's picture

aka algae.    is that yellow gas some type of nitrogen gas you think?

slewie the pi-rat's picture

@ ORI 16:19

L0L!!!  20 minutes ago?  i've been writing about the water play since april. given all the pieces i've written, and articles and maps (yes the water maps) and the recent post( after "we're in tripoli")  & link to the "european" water development plan~~nice to see you're paying attention, especially after you "agreed" with my "silver looks stronger than gold" here, today, also something i've been posting for several weeks, along w/ charts showing the "base" in silver and why gold, by comparison, looks "tired";  again, acting like it's "ORI's" original thinking, after i stood up to tyler's GOLD! call with it.  not you.  slewie

i'm flattered, but this is ridiculous!

again. when are you gonna tell us what the fascists are doing in india?  how they're organized?  who they control? what their plans are? 

carry on, but maybe give credit where credit is due?  very few here except your "fans" will fail to understand exactly what i'm talking about, b/c many zHeads have read my developed ideas & theses here, dude

"This Libya thing is much deeper than anything obvious and on th esurface, literally and figuratively."  dude, this is in its 7th month!  and, they still haven't gotten to the moQ, have they? where tf you been, boy?

we may be on the cusp of a counter-revolution, as the Transitional Council continues to "threaten" the moQ's tribal strongholds.  then, maybe after a few weeks of it (i hope!), you can inform everyone what is "really happening" abt that, too...  can't wait!   who knows? maybe i'll have "guessed right" again? 

i'm glad you're getting more real, but you those are my shoulders you're standing on, here, swami salami vivekananananananaduh...  and i'm pretty sure you must know it, too!  oh, well, it's better than your usual self-advertiZing pablum and psuedo-spiritual bullshit!

good for you!  thanks for the "flattering" ideas;  mine, originally.  if you have some original ideas which aren't crap, i'll give you credit, as i did when you absolutely nailed the "market's fall" from 12,500+++ b/c you saw "mercury going retrograde"

one of the finest calls on zHedge in 2011, and this is not the first time i have put out how freaking great that was, ok?  but the recent silver v. gold call and the libyan water call, each  developed into several paras, more than once here, are pretty much zHedge slewie originals, ori.  stop trying to be somebody you ain't

eureka's picture

Neither France, nor pathetic secret US agents, wound up the GaDaffyDuck to declare that HE would wipe out the entire East Libyan population if they did not continue to suck his cock. 

Ipso Est: "it" was not "just" about one "thing" - rather, it was - as life always is - about many things, one of which was freedom from the GaDaffyDuck dictatorship, and another - logically - about mutual future benefits - i.e. business - something zerohedgers and free marketeers and enlightened self-interest adherents should understand far more thouroughly than the average citizen knucklehead.

Whom enlightened, does not appreciate tangible thanks from those helped out from under a rock?

Business, Bitchez!

AnAnonymous's picture

Dont forget the freedom to round up people based on their skin colour and carry out an ethnical cleansing under the guise of humanitarian concern.

That is US citizenism.

No differences between Europeans and US citizens relatively to US citizenism. Both love it, both breath it, both live by it.

ZeroAffect's picture

Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa with 42 billion barrels of oil and over 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Causing oil company executives from Houston to Beijing to drool on their Gucci loafers, only 25 percent of Libya’s territory has been explored to date for hydrocarbons.

This has to be a LIE - haven't those bitchez heard of Peak Oil?

Flakmeister's picture

For Christ's sake, Peak does not mean it's gone, there is still lots of oil, just less and less each year.

Also the 42 billion quoted probably includes the miraculous OPEC doubling of reserves in the 1980s and refers to OOIP not what is recoverable....


bakken's picture

YES,  very good point.   Middle East reserves in general are overstated by a likely 30-40%.   Alot of oil but it doesn't save Europe or China.    PS the Chinese aren't done with Libya yet either.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Humans will stop using oil with plenty still in the ground.  OVERALL production has been slowly declining, so what.  The real issue that any corporation cares about is the recovery costs relative to the price paid for the recovered oil.  The energetic and captial costs to recover have been increasing almost exponentially.  Like any good corporation, when the process becomes unprofitable, it will be abandoned.  The only way oil won't be abandoned is if the price per barrel continues to climb.  If everyone is broke, who will be buying?  Maybe this troll?  Try harder dude.

infinity8's picture

yours is a valid alternate definition of "peak" oil but, when the process becomes unprofitable, it will be subsidized by the government.

Flakmeister's picture

For military and agricultural use....

Hey, wait a minute, isn't it already for those purposes?

infinity8's picture

absolutely - I meant more broadly and by more nefarious means. like war. like what's already been going on but to ? degree. these fuckers won't go quietly.

LawsofPhysics's picture

It HAS BEEN subsidized by the government for some time now, unfortunately you didn't read carefully enough.  There are two inputs to be concerned with, the capital input AND the energy input.  The question is how much inflation can people really handle.  Inflation allows the government to supply the former to offset the latter.  Works until it doesn't.

Potemkin Nation's picture

42B barrels is about 18 months of global consumption.  Conclusion: we're still fucked.

sun tzu's picture

If Libya was the only oil producing nation in the world, your conclusion would be correct. Reality is they are one of dozens of oil exporters. Combined, they have 50-100 years worth of oil consumption

Potemkin Nation's picture

First of all, oil reserves are depleting.  We are using up existing reserves much faster than new reserves are being discovered.  Second, peak oil is about production rates.  You may have 50-100 years of oil in the ground, but that doesn't mean you can get it out fast enough to meet demand.

disabledvet's picture

Juppe is still Foreign Minister? Wasn't he foreign minister in the 80's? He's gotta be a hundred years old by now. This just in from Tripoli btw:

not easy being an Oil Fish.

DosZap's picture

No, it's about Brown people, rounding up Black people, and getting ready for a CLEANING HOUSE.

The Rebels are taking all Blacks hostage, and imprisoning them.

No word on their fate, or intent.

Where are those sorry WHITE ass racists!!!.Ethnic cleansing.

Sudden Debt's picture

What did you expect? Kadafi hired mercenairies from Soudan and other African countries to kill and rape the Libian people.

This might even lead to another war.


disabledvet's picture

That's good news, right? And personally i've never heard of the term "scramble for oil" and "unseemly" in the same sentence either. I think the technical term is "shameless scramble for oil." Right up there with "naked power grab." Wait 'till the lobster and caviar dinners start appearing at "what's his name's" place.