FT Energy News 22 February

Last man out will turn off the oil tap (Page 1)

Oil production in Libya is set to drop dramatically as leading international companies and subcontractors evacuate their staff. Crude oil prices shot up to a two-and-a-half-year high above $108 a barrel on Monday as traders braced themselves for the impact of political unrest in Libya, the first leading oil-exporting country to be hit by the political turmoil in the Middle East.

Oil groups draw up plans for swift exit (Page 7)

International oil companies said they were either cutting production or pulling out staff, while analysts said companies could face long-term problems whether the regime survived or fell. The petroleum sector is a crucial political and economic backdrop to the struggle against Colonel Gaddafi’s 41 year rule, as it accounts for almost all Libya’s export earnings.

Oil potential in Congo park pits companies against greens (Page 10)

A battle for the future of Africa’s oldest national park has erupted in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, pitting UK oil companies keen to explore in one of the world’s poorest countries against the green lobby. Part of a block granted to Soco International and Dominion Petroleum is in Virunga national park, a world heritage site famous for its endangered mountain gorillas. The companies, stressing the gorillas are not present in their block, are eager to start exploration in the park.

BP set for $7.2bn deal with India’s Reliance (Page 17)

BP is to make one of the biggest foreign direct investments in India, investing at least $7.2bn to take 30% stakes in 23 natural gas blocks controlled by Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest tycoon.

India’s politics mark a risk as BP goes south (Page 19)

BP is shifting towards risky but potentially lucrative exploration in emerging economies. With disposals of mature assets in the US and the planned sale of two of its refineries there, coupled with expansion in Russia, Angola, and now India, it is clear the company’s focus is moving east and south.

Shell sells African businesses for $1bn (Page 19)

Under the terms of a $1bn deal for its downstream businesses in Africa, Shell will have a joint venture, controlling 20%, with Vitol and Helios Investment Partners, an African-focussed private equity group, owning 80%.

Exploration expertise is located after lengthy search (Page 19)

BP will take 30% stakes in 23 blocks, one of which is in production but provides 40% of Indian’s gas, giving an indication of the potential riches beneath the seabed.

Wood Group eyes benefits of industry spending (Page 19)

John Wood Group hopes an upturn in oil industry spending will boost sluggish profits.

Vitol sees 25% rise in trading volumes amid strong energy demand (Page 22)

Vitol, the largest oil trader, said trading volumes rose 25% last year compared to 2009.

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