Reuters and Upstream are reporting what looks like good news for those relying on Libyan oil supplies. According to both sources, Jammal bin Nour a judge and member of the coalition that says it is in charge in Benghazi, has said:
The oil deals (with foreign companies) that are legal and to the benefit of the Libyan people we will keep.
But those could be two very high bars to clear. If the coalition decides that an oil deal signed by Gaddafi is of questionable legality, oil companies are in trouble. And the reference to “the benefit of the Libyan people” raises the possibility that whoever takes over from Gaddafi (assuming he doesn’t regain control) will try and make those companies sign more punitive deals.
At the moment, experts and companies are hopeful that that the new Libyan regime will need the revenues from oil supplies to keep the public happy, and so will do minimal damage to existing oil contracts. But if the country’s new rulers make demons of these companies, depicting them as having been too close to the Gaddafi regime, there could be long term disruptions to their plans to work in Libya.
More positive as far as western oil is concerned is the news from Reuters that production at the Amal oilfield, one of the four largest in the country, has not been disrupted.
In the meantime, the near-panic of the last few days seems to have abated, with Brent oil stabilising around $111 per barrel, down from an intraday high of $119.