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OIL trying to evacuate staff from Libya

State-owned Oil India Ltd is trying to evacuate its personnel from the strife-torn Libya, where death toll in anti-government protests has crossed 300.

world Updated: Feb 23, 2011 20:20 IST

State-owned Oil India Ltd is trying to evacuate its personnel from the strife-torn Libya, where death toll in anti-government protests has crossed 300.

OIL is the operator of two exploration blocks in scrub desert area of Western Libya. The blocks, where Indian Oil Corp was an equal partner, had turned out to be dry and OIL had decided to relinquish them.

"We were in the process of surrendering the blocks when the unrest broke out in Libya. 2-3 OIL personnel are stuck in Libyan capital of Tripoli," a senior company official said.

OIL is in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to bring the personnel back.

"We are in constant touch with them. They are safe and we are trying to evacuate them as soon as possible," the official said.

OIL had, some weeks back, applied to Libyan authorities for relinquishing the two onshore blocks - Block 86 and Block 102(4) in oil-prolific Sirte Basin.

It had an office at Hay Al Andalus - Ali Shehtri Street in Tripoli.

OIL was the operator of the two blocks and held 50 per cent stake in the venture, while the rest was held by state refiner IOC. OIL-IOC had won the blocks in the Libyan Exploration and Production Service Agreement (EPSA IV) Bid Round I in 2004.

The official said OIL also has interest in Area 95/96 (Block 2/1, 2 & 4) with Algerian oil firm Sonatrach. OIL and IOC hold 25 per cent stake each, while Sonatrach is the operator with 50 per cent.

"We continue to stay put in the block. Sonatrach being the operator, we did not have any personnel deployed for operations there," he said.

The onshore block, located in the oil-prolific Ghadames Basin, was won in EPSA Bid Round IV in 2007.