TRIPOLI, Libya – Feb. 27 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — According to Phoenicia Group (www.phoenicia.ly), the leading U.S.-Libyan diversified business group, which is a strategic partner to key U.S. and international companies in Libya, Libya is suffering from an acute shortage of oil drilling and work over rigs, significantly delaying exploration programs of oil majors prospecting in the North African country.

Phoenicia (c) Send2PressSymptomatic of the wider global glut in rig availability, U.S. newcomers ExxonMobil, Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, and the former Oasis Group (Marathon Oil, Conocophillips, and Amerada Hess) are finding themselves struggling to secure rigs on schedule for their expanding operations in the country, from exploring new blocks to revamping existing unproductive fields.

The demand is translating into high rates for contracted rigs, said Ryad Sunusi, interim President & CEO of the Phoenicia Group, during a conference call with investors, analysts, and the media from Tripoli, elaborating:

“Libya needs at least 40 rigs for the next 10 years to support IOC exploration programs, and this represents a great opportunity for the Libyan private sector to get involved, in forming JVs with overseas drilling and work over contractors, as outlined by GPC Decree 443/2006,” he noted.

“We intend to capitalize on the opportunities and partner with international oil services companies to meet the demand, and laud the Libyan government’s stance in its strong support and confidence in the Libyan private sector’s capabilities of supporting the national oil sector.”

Former GPC Secretary Shukri Ghanem, who currently heads the country’s National Oil Corporation, is a strong supporter of Libyan private sector involvement in the oil services sector and relayed that message to a gathering of Libyan businessmen at the Mahari Hotel last year.

Libya has enacted legislation requiring international oil services companies wishing to do business in Libya do so through JVs with a Libyan partner according to GPC Decision 443/2006, which was passed last November by the General People’s Committee, Libya’s executive decision-making body.

Joint Ventures, which take the form of Joint Stock or “Mushtirika” companies, formerly required a 51% to 49% ownership structure in favor of the Libyan partner and majority Libyan board, but was amended to allow foreign partners to maintain a maximum 65% stake and majority of the board, effectively giving control to the foreign partner. The Libyan partner, however, legally must have a minimum 35% stake in any Joint Stock Company.

The move has major oil services companies like Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford and others scrambling to conform to the new decree, and newcomers keen to pinpoint Libyan partners.

Sunusi, a prominent Libyan businessman and expert, is staking his group’s future potential on oil services, tourism, and construction, sectors outlined for growth by the National Economic Strategy overseen by the National Economic Development Board, and has established oil services companies Al-Marooj, Oea, and Akakus to tap the market, by establishing JVs with U.S. and international oil services companies, particularly drilling and work over services companies.

“We see tremendous opportunity in oil services, and are confident that with support of the government, and in time, the Libyan private sector can achieve most oil services on its own, we are in serious talks with major oil services companies, and judging by the number of proposals we are receiving, the interest is phenomenal.”

The Phoenicia Group, a widely touted poster child of Libyan private sector achievement, has, since its inception in 1999, experienced rapid expansion in the oil & gas, construction, tourism, telecommunications, health, services, and agribusiness sectors, making it the leading Libyan private business and consultancy group; and sponsoring the spin-off of the Libyan-American Business Council in 2004 to promote U.S.-Libyan trade and business exchange.

About Phoenicia Group Libya, LLC
Phoenicia Group, a U.S.-Libyan professional business services company, establishes and advises on interoperability issues in the Libyan Market with technology, and devises, researches and implements market entry and risk management strategies for U.S. companies wishing to establish a foothold for commerce in Libya.

For more information, visit www.phoenicia.ly.

Text provided by the news source.

News issued by: Phoenicia Group

# # #

Original Story ID: (2548) :: 2007-02-0227-002

Original Keywords: Phoenicia Group, Ryad Sunusi, U.S.-Libyan diversified business group, US-Libyan professional business services company, establishes and advises on interoperability issues in the Libyan Market with technology, and devises, researches and implements market entry and risk management strategies for U.S. companies wishing to establish a foothold for commerce in Libya Phoenicia Group

News Source: Phoenicia Group