By Ola Galal
(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc will be allowed to continue drilling for oil and gas in Libya, Shokri Ghanem, the North African country’s top oil official, said in a statement posted on the website of Libya’s National Oil Corp.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill will not “change our confidence” in BP and shouldn’t stand in the way of scientific progress such as deep-water drilling, Ghanem said.
BP said today the cost of battling the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has reached $2.65 billion as work continues to drill two relief wells to plug the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. The London-based company in 2007 signed an agreement with the investment arm of the Libyan government to explore for gas along an offshore tract the size of Belgium.
“BP has huge capabilities, long-standing experience and high-standard abilities that it could use to tackle the spill and overcome the crisis,” said Ghanem, who is also the chairman of National Oil Corp.
Libya, holder of Africa’s largest oil reserves and an OPEC member, pumped 1.55 million barrels of oil a day in May, according to output estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
International oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and Repsol YPF SA produce and explore for oil and gas in Libya. The country ships natural gas to Europe through a pipeline to Italy and in liquid form to Spain.
--Editors: Rob Verdonck, Raj Rajendran
To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Galal at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at firstname.lastname@example.org