Oil majors, BASF unit curb Libya production, evacuate staff

23 February 2011 16:27  [Source: ICIS news]

Egyptians return home from LibyaTORONTO (ICIS)--Oil majors ENI, Suncor, OMV and Total curbed their operations in Libya on Wednesday and were taking steps to protect their staff amid increasing political unrest in the oil-rich north African country.

Brent crude prices rose by more than $3/bbl on Wednesday, moving above $109/bbl, over concerns that Libya’s political unrest will disrupt global oil supply.

In a statement, Canada-based Suncor said: “Employees remaining in Libya are in safe locations, and the company has a team of safety professionals in the country to assist our staff and to continue monitoring the evolving situation.”

“Suncor remains committed to taking any necessary action to ensure our people’s safety. We are maintaining contact with our people in Libya and with their family members in Canada and elsewhere.”

Suncor became an oil producer in Libya in 2009 when it acquired Petro-Canada.

Italy's ENI said it was suspending “certain oil and gas activities” and repatriating most of its international staff.

However, 34 ENI employees would remain in Libya, some at operating plants and others in Tripoli. None of the company’s plants had suffered any damage, it added.

Shares of Austria’s OMV were down 5.17% to  €30.26 in Vienna on Wednesday at 16:18 local time, after the company earlier said all of its 33,000 bbl/day production in Libya may be shut down.

BASF’s energy unit, Wintershall, said most of its international employees had now left troubled Libya.

“Apart from a small core team, most Wintershall employees from Tripoli and their relatives have left Libya. Everyone is well and looked after,” Wintershall said.

Wintershall said it would decide on a return of its employees depending on developments in Libya.

France's Total suspended some operations, according to media reports. Officials from Total were not immediately available for comment.

According to the International Energy Administration (IEA), Europe receives over 85% of Libya’s crude exports, while about 13% heads east of Suez. In 2010, Libya exported 1.2m bbl/day of crude oil to IEA countries.

With additional reporting by ICIS bureaux in London and Singapore.

($1 = €0.73)

For more on BASF, ENI, Total, OMV and other producers, visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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