Libya's National Oil Corp will honour contracts: Ghanem

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Libya's National Oil Corp will honour its contracts with foreign firms operating in the country, NOC chairman Shukri Ghanem said.

"We will honour all our engagements and contracts with the foreign oil companies that are working in Libya," Ghanem told a press conference in Tripoli. "We have no intention of cancelling our contracts."

Ghanem, who is also de facto oil minister, said the country's oil production currently stands at 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), less than a third of normal, as a result of the month-long rebellion against strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

AFP - Libyan Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem speaks during a press conference in Tripoli to announce that Libya's National Oil Corp will honour its contracts with foreign firms operating in the country

Most oil companies operating in Libya, including France's Total and China's CNPC, have partly or completely shut down production since the uprising began.

On Monday, Kadhafi invited Chinese, Russian and Indian firms to produce its oil to replace the Western companies that fled unrest in the North African nation.

When the insurrection began gaining momentum on March 2, Kadhafi threatened to throw Western oil companies out of the country.

The US, Britain and France pounded Libya with Tomahawk missiles and air strikes into the early hours of Sunday, sparking fury from Moamer Kadhafi who declared the Mediterranean to be a "battlefield."

Kadhafi, in a brief audio message broadcast on state television, fiercely denounced the attacks as a "barbaric, unjustified Crusaders' aggression."

He vowed retaliatory strikes on military and civilian targets in the Mediterranean, which he said had been turned into a "real battlefield."

"Now the arms depots have been opened and all the Libyan people are being armed," to fight against Western forces, the veteran leader warned.

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