The news comes as the country's leader Colonel
Muammar Gaddafi prepares to welcome UK Foreign Office Minister Mike
O'Brien for a meeting seen as a sign of Libya's wish for acceptance as a
Libya is trying to attract $10bn in foreign
investment in oil sector by 2010, and has offered more than 130
exploration blocks since the United Nations imposed sanctions in 1999.
But the Repsol deal is only the sixth, all struck
with European companies.
US oil firms are barred by a 1986 US presidential
order from dealing with Libya.
The contract with the Repsol consortium — which
includes France's TotalFinaElf, Austria's OMV and Norway's Saga
Petroleum Mabruk — does not mark the entry of any new European
companies into the Libyan market.
About 40,000 barrels per day are expected to be
produced from 2004.
Libya has reserves of 29.5 billion barrels, which are
just a fraction of those held by Opec cartel giant Saudi Arabia.
Some analysts think Tripoli may have been hoping to
fend off European investors in the hope of luring US cash when
Washington lifts its embargo.
OPEC QUOTA BUSTING HITS NEW PEAKS
Oil cartel Opec's stranglehold on world energy looks
set to weaken, according to figures which show members ignoring their
quotas to take advantage of high prices.
A survey by consultancy Petrologistics, which counts
tankers leaving Opec ports, shows that compliance with quotas has
dropped to 63% compared with more than 70% early in the year.
Among the biggest culprits are Nigeria and Algeria,
But Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude oil
exporter by far, is also pumping well above its allowance amid internal
political pressures and money trouble.
The risk of a US-led assault on Iraq is also
increasing demand, as countries stock up in case oil prices spike.
Opec — the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting
Countries — has a declared policy of cutting or boosting production so
as to keep the price of oil at around $25 a barrel.
Monday's closing price for Opec crude was $24.77 and,
apart from the slump in prices to below $20 following the 11 September
attacks, has remained close to that level for months.
Oil experts say the main reason for the widespread
quota-busting is that, with prices stubbornly high, producers want to
take advantage of the market.
"The price is right where Opec wants it,"
Clay Smith, oil analyst at Commerzbank in London, told BBC News Online.
"[Opec members] don't see a risk to the price in
doing what they're doing at the moment."
A Reuters survey showed that the 10 Opec members
which were meant to be restricting output pumped 23.56 million barrels
of crude in June, 9% more than they were meant to.
US DERIDES SADDAM'S 'BLUSTER'
The United States has dismissed a speech by Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein in which he said that any attack on his country
would be doomed to failure.
In his first public remarks since US President George
W Bush vowed last month to see him replaced, Saddam Hussein said that
"evil people" who threatened Arab and Muslim countries would
be left "in the dustbin of history".
The televised address came amid growing speculation
that the US is planning to attack Iraq over its failure to readmit
United Nations weapons monitors, who have been barred from the country
US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the
speech was "bluster from an internationally isolated dictator,
demonstrative yet again that his regime shows no intention to live up to
its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions".
CAUTIOUS START TO US-PALESTINIAN TALKS
A senior Palestinian delegation has held talks in
Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell — the first high-level
meeting between US and Palestinian officials for months.
Afterwards, Mr Powell announced moves to alleviate
the humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza, and hinted at new
moves to get an agreement on security co-operation.
The talks came as a tentative agreement over a phased
Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian areas appeared to have collapsed.
Shortly after discussions between the two sides
ended, Israeli troops swept into Gaza and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
said he had no intention of holding peace negotiations with the current
SAUDIS LASH US 'CHRISTIAN EXTREMISTS'
The Saudi press has launched a vitriolic attack on
what it describes as Christian fundamentalism in the United States.
One newspaper, al-Watan, said Christian
fundamentalism was no less dangerous to international peace and security
than other forms of religious extremism.
The newspapers were responding to reports of a
Pentagon briefing during which Saudi Arabia was described as the kernel
of evil in the Middle East.
Despite the official statements from Washington and
Riyadh that relations between the two countries are as good as ever, the
anger in the Saudi press reflects a growing unease in Saudi Arabia about
the way the kingdom has been portrayed in the United States since the
attacks in September last year.
The prime suspect, Osama Bin Laden, is a Saudi
dissident, and so were most of the hijackers.
IRAQ ISSUES 10,000 DINAR BANKNOTE
Iraq's central bank plans to issue a 10,000 dinar
banknote for commercial transactions.
"This note will be used in relatively large
commercial deals, notably for real estate and costly machinery,"
Iraqi Central Bank (ICB) governor Isam Rashid Huwaysh was quoted as
saying by local newspapers.
One US dollar buys about 1,900 dinars, but the
highest denomination currently used is the 250 dinar.
Bills in shops, restaurants and hotels can reach
hundreds of thousands of dinars and many are equipped with cash-counting
But Dr Huwaysh said the new banknote will not be used
for everyday transactions.
Credit cards and cheques are no longer accepted in
DUBAI SEES DH5.5B LAND DEALS IN SIX MONTHS
Dubai's real-estate sector has recorded a phenomenal
rise during the first half of this year with deals valued at Dh5.5
billion, a 46 per cent increase in the value of land sold during the
same period last year, according to a report from the Lands Department.
Land at Mirdif remained the most popular, followed by
Barsha 2, said Mohammed bin Touq, chairman of Regulations and Studies
Barsha 1 ranked third because authorities opened the
door for more investment there by allowing the construction of six-storey
buildings, said Bin Touq.
ATTACK ON IRAN 'HIGHLY PROBABLE' NEXT YEAR
A U.S. attack on Iran is "highly probable"
in 2003, Mohsen Rezaie, spokesman of Iran's Expediency Council, said.
Speaking to Iran Students News Agency (ISNA), Rezaie
warned the U.S. saying that "Iran's role in the region cannot be
Rezaie urged the Iranian government to adopt two
major strategies simultaneously for facing any U.S. attack against Iran.
"High-ranking officials including parliamentarians, judiciary
system, and government officials should pool in all their efforts
towards the requests of the people," said Rezaie.
RAKBANK PROFIT INCREASES 13PC
Even as most of the public joint stock company (PJSC)
banks do not bother to bring out audited semi-annual financial
statements, RakBank has once again published its audited first-half
results with a 13 per cent jump in net profit to Dh34.9 million.
40PC GROWTH IN DUTY-FREE SHOPS
Duty free outlets in Dubai's three ports — Jebel
Ali, Rashid and Dubai Creek — have witnessed a 40 per cent growth this
year over its operations in 2001, said a top duty free official.
Duty Free Dubai Ports FZE, which runs duty free shops
in seven locations including three permanent, two temporary and two
mobile units in Jebel Ali Free Zone, Port Rashid and Dubai Creek's Dhow
Wharfage, is currently planning to set up another duty free shop in
Hamriya Port next year.
ADGAS REPLACING LNG LOADING ARMS AT JETTY
Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Co. (Adgas) is replacing
its four 16-inch LNG loading arms on the jetty with new ones.
The increased rate of major maintenance for the
existing arms and the need to mobilise expensive marine barges for
lifting the loading arms from the jetty for workshop refurbishment, have
prompted the decision to replace the existing 25-year old loading arms.
GULF AIR RESTRUCTURING
Back in the 1980's Gulf Air held some of the most
enviable routes in the GCC and was the airline with a monopoly on some
Almost 20 years later the airline has not only lost
the position it once enjoyed, but with possible exiting shareholders, a
new management, and desperate search for a new strategy, the question of
its turnaround come to the fore again.
The UAE has become a core market for Standard
Chartered Bank and has ended up one of bank's top five contributors in
terms of trading profit when the bank concluded its first half financial
Middle East South Asia (Mesa) region improved its
operating profit from consumer banking by 70 per cent to $46 million for
the six-months period ending June 30, 2002.
EXPO ON NOTED EXPLORER DRAWS CROWD
The exhibition on the life of famed explorer bin
Majid provided a glimpse into the country's past.
Held at Deira City Centre, the exhibit was worth
visiting, not only for those interested in history, but also for those
keen on learning more about the UAE's contributions to modern marine
The event was part of the Heritage Week programme of
DSS, which offered a wide range of cultural activities.
JORDAN BANS 'INSULTING' TV CHANNEL
Jordan has banned a popular Arabic TV channel from
operating on its soil after it broadcast criticism of King Abdullah's
Middle East policies.
The government shut down the offices of satellite TV
channel al-Jazeera in Amman and prohibited its correspondents from
working inside Jordan.
Jordan said al-Jazeera had broadcast a talk show on
Tuesday in which speakers reportedly attacked the country's
long-standing peace treaty with Israel, and criticised its policies on
the Palestinians and Iraq.
US OFFICIAL TERMS SAUDI ARABIA ENEMY
A briefing to a Pentagon defence panel last month
described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States and recommended
that it be given an ultimatum to stop "backing terrorism", The
Washington Post said on Tuesday.
"The Saudis are active at every level of the
terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier,
from ideologist to cheerleader," said Rand Corp analyst Laurent
Murawiec in his July 10 briefing to the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board.
"Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks
our allies," Murawiec said, describing the country as "the
kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in
the Middle East.
ISLAMISTS ARRESTED IN MOROCCO
Moroccan police have arrested a number of Islamists
they accuse of carrying out a series of murders.
Ten people were detained in Casablanca and about 20
more in other parts of the country.
The police say they are members of the radical
Islamist group, Salafiya Jihadia and Takfir Wal Hidjra.
Analysts say these groups preach holy war and the
strict application of Islamic law against Muslims perceived to be
'GAZA FIRST' PLAN FOUNDERS
The latest plan to establish a truce between Israel
and the Palestinians was reminiscent of security co-operation
arrangements drawn up in the 1990s.
Under the so-called "Gaza first" initiative
— the brainchild of Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer — Israeli
forces would withdraw from Palestinian territory in Gaza to positions
held before the start of the Intifada in September 2000.