ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Total, le grand gagnant de la guerre en Libye
Translated Friday 26 August 2011, by Bill Scobleand reviewed by
If there’s one party that must be rejoicing at war’s end, it’s truly the gigantic French oil company, which is well positioned to take over a good share of Libya’s black gold.
Who was among the very first Frenchmen to arrive in Benghazi in early March to encourage the Libyan insurgents? A representative of Total. And today the corporation can rub its hands – the French presidency’s rapid recognition of the CNT and defense of military intervention has put the corporation in the good graces of the future regime.
For, while the Libyan insurgents are on top of a political pile of ruins, they have already reorganized an oil industry with the AGOCO company. AGOCO has just announced that the countries that did not actively support the rebellion will certainly see themselves excluded from the Libyan oil market. To wit, Russia, which says it is resigned to losing its interests in Libya; China, which is already vigorously protesting in an attempt to save its 50 projects and 36,000 jobs; and Brazil. On the other hand, AGOCO is said to have promised Total a big slice of the cake.
Before the war, the French oil company exploited only a marginal share of Libyan output – 3% of the 1.6 million barrels a day the country was producing. So this is a very significant victory for Total, all the more so as Libya has very big reserves. The financial markets have understood this very well, since with the insurgents’ entry in Tripoli, Total shares jumped over 4% on August 22. Another indication that negotiations are under way is the jitters suffered by the Italian oil corporation ENI, which chose not to wait for the war to end to return to Libya and attempt to safeguard its very big interests.
Another French player which might well benefit from the French military engagement in Libya is GDF-Suez. Libya also has big natural gas reserves, in which the French corporation has absolutely no share, for the moment that is, since negotiations are said to be under way. GDF has refused to make any comment, but there’s an unmistakable signal – the corporation’s shares also benefited in a big way from the fall of Tripoli (up 5%).
This oil war remains a high-risk affair. The CNT is deeply divided and it is very likely that it will have a hard time keeping peace, once the war is over – and it isn’t over yet. In this case, it’s a good bet that France will have to find a pretext to maintain troops in the region, even if this goes against the UN resolution.