Why are Chevron and Oxy leaving Libya?
American Chevron and Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) have not renewed oil and gas exploration licenses in Libya. A statement to that effect was circulated by the national oil corporation.
Chevron and Oxy did not extend five-year exploration licenses in Libya. The two companies were among the first foreign companies to arrive on the Libyan market in 2005. Official reports say Chevron and Oxy are leaving because neither company has reported any major finds in the past five years. In addition, foreign businesses had to deal with numerous hurdles from Libya’s leadership. And on top of all that, a license extension requires millions of dollars in funds.
According to the unofficial version, Chevron and Oxy left Libya over the so-called “Lockerbie case”. The release of Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, by Scotland last year sparked fury in the United States and triggered harsh criticism of London and Edinburgh from the US authorities. Most of the 270 passengers killed over Lockerbie in Scotland on December 21st 1988 were US nationals.
The United States suspects the oil giant BP of playing a part in securing al-Megrahi’s release, and since BP is also to blame for the recent ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Washington is determined to get to the truth in the “Lockerbie case”. The more so since the al-Megrahi, who was released on compassionate grounds after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was thought to have three months to live, is still alive and is currently undergoing treatment in a hospital in Tripoli. Most Americans associate Libya with terrorism. And in the wake of 9/11 terrorism and anything related to it causes serious concern in the US.
On Tuesday a US court handed down a life sentence for Faisal Shahzad, who attempted to blow a bomb on Times Square in May this year. And a few days ago the US government warned its citizens to be vigilant travelling in Europe, amid fears of an al-Qaeda-style attack. The alert from overseas led European governments into tightening security, particularly at tourist sights.
As for Russia’s position on counter-terror measures, it was voiced by deputy chief of the Russian delegation Leonid Slutsky at a session of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg a few days ago. Europe, he said, ought to avoid double standards and should deny entry to international terrorists. Extremists are using a number of European countries to launch attacks against others. The Chechen separatist emissary, Ahmed Zakaev, has been on Russia’s wanted list since 2001 on seven proven charges. Nevertheless, he has received political asylum in Britain and continues to carry out subversive activity from there.