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AP Worldstream: Dutch economics minister to visit Libya for oil and gas talks

Mar 30, 2006
Economics Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst will go to Libya next week to negotiate gas and oil agreements, in the first high-level visit by a Dutch official since Colonel Moammar Gadhafi took power in 1969, the ministry said Thursday.
During the April 5-6 trip, Brinkhorst hopes to “intensify business and political relations with Libya,” and to lay the groundwork for a long-term energy deal to be signed later, spokesman Jan van Diepen said.
The Dutch determination to diversify gas sources deepened after Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine in January, Van Diepen said. The Netherlands also has its own gas fields, with reserves sufficient for domestic needs through 2030.
Brinkhorst also will visit a trade fair in Tripoli that will be attended by officials from Royal Dutch Shell and from the Dutch air carrier KLM.
Shell announced last year it had concluded a deal to explore and develop areas in Libya's Sirte Basin and expected to start drilling in 2007. Shell was active in Libya from the 1950s until 1974, and it conducted explorations there in the late 1980s.
Libya's relations with the West improved following its agreement in December 2003 to dismantle its chemical, nuclear and biological programs.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press

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