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* Libya to permit US oil companies to operate
A Libyan oil official confirmed that American companies will be allowed for the first time in 20 years to participate in oil exploration and division of production by next September, LiquidAfrica reported. The government will grant licenses for recovery in 15 marine and land areas.
The official also said that six groups submitted offers that were accepted. The last one was the Spanish Repsol Co., in August 2004 - a $155 million investment in the Murzuk oil field.
Libya previously offered 130 areas to attract $10 billion for investment in the oil sector up to 2010.

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* Conference links EU companies with Libyan partners
BEIRUT: European Union manufacturing and service companies are poised to start seeking potential partners in Libya during the first networking event designed to bring together European businesses and Libyan state-backed organizations earmarked for privatization. The event - Libya: Opportunity and Challenge - will be held Oct. 12-13.
Up to 300 Libyan public enterprises could be privatized over the next five years to attract foreign direct investment.
The EU - especially Italy, Germany, France, Spain and the UK - is Libya's largest trading partner, accounting for some 50 percent of imports and 70 percent of exports.
"This conference is going to be a practical matchmaking session between European companies of all sizes and in a wide range of commercial and industrial sectors who want to do business in Libya, a market that companies around the globe have set their sights on. European companies have been active in Libya for years and they are now in a position to consolidate and expand their position in one of the most promising African economies of the 21st century," Michael Thomas of the Middle East Association, the organizer of the event, said.

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* First new power plant to be built in Iraq since 1976
BEIRUT: A new power plant has been completed in Buzurgan, Iraq, and was connected to the Iraqi electrical grid, making it the first new power plant to be constructed and commissioned in Iraq since 1976. An American company, Perini, was the firm commissioned to build the plant, which opened this week.
The new 40 Megawatt (MW) plant was designed to burn on either diesel or natural gas. Perini is also nearing completion of another 40 MW generator at an existing power plant in Southern Iraq and has just turned over two refurbished 63 MW generators. Together with the Buzurgan plant, these projects will contribute nearly 200 MW to the national grid, enough to service an estimated 600,000 Iraqi homes.

Beirut,09 06 2004
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