BP, the oil giant, signed a deal with Libya in 2007 to explore for gas in the west of the country and offshore. But since then it has faced a string of bureaucratic obstacles, including delays securing official permits and approvals to import equipment through Libyan customs, the sources said.
They added that BP’s work programme, conducting geological studies on the Sitre basin, an offshore block the size of Belgium, had been hit by delays securing official paperwork for the next scheduled phase of work. “Now that al-Megrahi is released, BP expects to get the go-ahead,” said one source in Libya.
Lord Mandelson met Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son a week before reports the Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing could be freed.
The Labour peer spoke briefly about the case with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi while on holiday in Corfu, it has emerged.
But Lord Mandelson's spokesman said subsequent reports of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi's possible release from jail were "entirely coincidental".
Britain's second biggest oil refinery – employing 800 full-time staff at the Stanlow site near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire – could be sold off by the Shell oil group.
The company confirmed last night that a review of the plant's ownership was under way, but denied that there were any plans to close the 173-acre facility, which has processed oil for 60 years and accounts for roughly 20% of Britain's petrol production.
Competitors – including the Libyan National Oil Company, in partnership with the Indian mobile phone firm Essar – are among the potential buyers of the plant, which may be auctioned with two Shell refineries in Germany.
The Lockerbie Bomber is released for 'compassionate' reasons. The UK government deny any interference.
I would say that in this case 2 + 2 most definitely equals 5.