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Middle east

BP to start drilling off Libya

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-24

BP is to begin drilling off the coast of Libya, despite being mired in controversy over its suspected role in the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, and the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

AFP - BP will start drilling off the Libyan coast within a few weeks, the Financial Times reported Saturday, amid a row over the oil giant's connections to the north African state.

The deep-water drilling will take place in the Gulf of Sirte as BP faces intense scrutiny over its acquisition of rights to a huge oil and gas field in 2007.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to investigate whether BP played any part in the Scottish government's decision last year to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi from prison on compassionate grounds due to his terminal cancer.

Megrahi was the only person convicted of blowing up an airliner over southern Scotland in 1988, killing 270 people, most of them US citizens. He is still alive and living in Libya.

Some US lawmakers charge that the British-based energy giant, which has faced sharp criticism in the United States for its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, lobbied for Megrahi's release to make doing business easier.

BP says it did lobby the British government over a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.

But Megrahi was released by the devolved Scottish government on compassionate grounds and not under that agreement.

BP says it was not involved in any discussions with relevant authorities about his release.

Date created : 2010-07-24