BP Gulf oil spill has reached the shores as the disastrous environmental damage continues. The oil firm has rejected responsibility for the calamity and is seeking to limit liability to the people of the country and their environment., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
BP shelves onshore exploration in Libya as instability grows
Thu, Mar 6 2014
By Lin Noueihed
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil and gas major BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said it had mothballed plans to explore in Libya's Ghadames basin because of security concerns, the latest in a series of companies to rethink their projects amid growing instability.
Three years of turmoil since the Arab Spring and tough contract terms have prompted oil firms to reassess their role in Libya, and several have said they would postpone their plans or scrap them altogether.
BP's exploration and production sharing agreement with Libya covers onshore acreage in Ghadames, near the border between Libya, Algeria and Tunisia, and offshore acreage in the central Sirte basin.
"With respect to the onshore exploration drilling programme, a security review in June concluded that this could not be safely and securely delivered by BP at this time.
Alternative approaches are being considered," BP said on Thursday in its annual report.
The British company was continuing with its offshore plans, where safety risks are much lower.
"Preparation work towards our offshore exploration drilling programme is continuing," it said.
BP signed the agreement with Libya in 2007, when it was seen as a landmark deal that sealed former dictator Muammar Gaddafi's return to the international fold after years of sanctions.
BP is still at the exploration stage and does not produce oil in Libya. Its assets there were worth $472 million at the end of 2013, according to its annual report.
Since Gaddafi's overthrow in 2011, instability in Libya has been rising, with attacks on foreigners becoming increasingly frequent. A mix of disgruntled workers, separatists and militias have blocked much of its oil exports for months at a time.
In September, Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the world's largest publicly traded energy firm, said it would cut its staff and operations in Libya due to growing insecurity.
Royal Dutch Shell abandoned exploration on two blocks in 2012 due to disappointing results.
Last year Marathon Oil (MRO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) attempted to sell its stake in one of Libya's top oil ventures, but Libya blocked the deal.
BP was one of several oil companies that scrambled to return to Libya after 2003. In bidding rounds opening up territory that had been off limits for years, companies accepted some of the industry's tightest exploration and production terms.
(editing by Jane Baird)
Damage from a car bomb explosion at the Swedish embassy in Benghazi, Libya on October 11, 2013. There was an attempted coup earlier in the week., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Amid growing tensions, unrest, diplomats to focus on creating permanent government in Libya
Associated Press March 6, 2014
By LARA JAKES, AP National Security Writer
ROME (AP) — World diplomats worked Thursday to help Libya create a stable government and more secure environment amid the violence and growing political tensions that have festered since Moammar Gadhafi's government was blanket-bombed, overthrown and the leader was brutally assassinated in 2011.
The meeting of foreign ministers, mostly from the West and Gulf states, focused largely on easing disagreements among Libya's diverse tribal, religious and ethnic populations, looking toward writing a new constitution and holding elections this year. The ministers are also working to secure weapons and ammunition left over from the Gadhafi era to help bring more security to the country.
"Those mostly uncontrolled materials are a threat to the entire region," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the conference, adding that Germany and France are allocating several million euros for the weapons-securing project this year.
Three years after Gadhafi's ouster and slaying, Libya's central government still has little authority. The military and police are in disarray, outmanned and outgunned by rival militias who frequently take over state facilities.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Libya is at "really a pivotal moment" and pledged to help the country move toward national reconciliation and elections while it drafts a new constitution.
"Libyans did not risk their lives in the 2011 [counter] revolution just to slip backward into thuggery and violence," Kerry told reporters hours after meeting Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan and Nouri Abu Sahmein, the Islamist-leaning president of Libya's parliament.
"And we will continue to work closely to fight terrorism to prevent the spread of conventional weapons and to secure those weapons where they should be secured and to build democratic institutions," Kerry said.
Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who hosted the conference, said the international community wants to give the Libyan people support. She said they are suffering "far beyond what was expected and would be normal" from uncontrolled circulation of weapons and other violence.
The Libyan parliament's term expired last month, but lawmakers voted to extend it and hold new elections in the spring.
Protesters have been holding daily demonstrations demanding parliament be dissolved.
Libya private TV station attacked on Feb. 12, 2014. The country is extremely unstable since the counter-revolution against Gaddafi., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Western countries alarmed as Libya slides towards chaos
By Steve Scherer
ROME (Reuters) - Western countries voiced concern on Thursday that tensions in Libya could slip out of control in the absence of a functioning political system, and they urged the government and rival factions to start talking.
Two-and-a-half years after the CIA-Pentagon-NATO engineered overthrow and brutal murder of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the oil-rich North African state is struggling to contain violence between rival forces, with Islamist militants gaining an ever-stronger grip on the south of the country.
"The situation in Libya is very worrying," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters on the margins of a conference in Rome to discuss the Libyan crisis.
He said the uncertain security position, especially in the south, worsened an unstable political situation which required Libyan political forces to come together to reach a solution.
"We are asking the Libyans to talk to each other and to find a stable solution," he said.
The conference in Rome was overshadowed by the crisis in Ukraine, with a hectic round of bilateral talks at the margins culminating in a 40-minute meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
But with violent disputes between rival tribal factions disrupting exports of Libyan oil, the lack of a stable political foundation is causing growing concern for energy-hungry western countries, several of which were involved in overthrowing the Gaddafi government.
"It's incredibly important for the simple reason that oil is clearly a key driver of the economy," said Hugh Robertson, a junior minister in Britain's Foreign Office. "As long as the economy remains depressed that means there are a lot of young people in Libya for whom there is no real viable future inside a new democratic state of Libya."
The weak government in Tripoli is struggling to control well-armed former anti-Gaddafi rebels and Islamist militias, while parliament was stormed by protestors at the weekend who blamed the politicians for the growing chaos.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur Tarek Mitri said the Libya situation would be discussed at a Security Council meeting on Monday.
"There must be a consensus also within Libya to address what seems like the intractable problem of insecurity," he said.
However no concrete decisions were announced after the meeting beyond vague promises of help with security.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulaziz pointed to the difficulties of creating a stable political culture in a country that had only recently gone through a civil war after four decades of authoritarian rule.
"We do not deny that we have political struggles and problems," he said. "We suffer from the absence of a regime. Libya was kidnapped for more than 40 years. Political parties were forbidden under the former regime."
But he said that stability and security could not be the responsibility of Libya alone, which was fundamentally weaker than neighboring states in North Africa and the Middle East.
"We suffer from the inexistence of institutions, and that's what makes us different from Tunisia and Egypt," he said.
(Additional reporting by James Mackenzie, Editing by Angus MacSwan)
From Unions for Single Payer –
The New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, NYSARA, at its most recent annual meeting, endorsed HR 676, Congressman John Conyers’ national single payer legislation also known as Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.
NYSARA has 440,000 members, many of them retired union members who have maintained affiliation with the retiree group of their union. It is affiliated with the four million member Alliance for Retired Americans, ARA.
HR 676 was brought to NYSARA by New York State United Teachers Retiree Council 12, whose former president July Shultz, co-presidents Sandy Bliss and Jeanne Williams Bennett, and member Bev Alves worked on the resolution.
Alves reports that NYSARA overwhelmingly passed the resolution for HR 676 with one enthusiastic delegate calling out loud “It’s about time.” Alves says that the resolution will be brought to the national ARA this year.
Find more endorsements at unionsforsinglepayer.org.