Libya has extended an end-December deadline for three oil exploration packages to January 15th, 2001, it was reported on December 21st.
The move apparently was taken to not only increase what is already believed to be stiff competition among bidders, but also to avoid clashes with holidays surrounding the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and Christmas and the New Year celebrations.
However, the 15 to 19 companies that are believed to have pre-qualified for the licensing round for the packaged 15 blocks are not sure how long it will take Tripoli to negotiate contracts after January 15th.
The biggest interest among the foreign firms is for the first package that includes acreage in the Murzuk Basin, as well as two offshore Mediterranean blocks, a block in the Sirte Basin and another in the less-explored Kufra Block in the southeast.
Several of the bidding companies are forming consortia to increase their odds for winning contracts.
The other two packages include acreage in the Sirte Basin, the Cyrenaica Basin in the northeast and the Ghademes Basin. Another 120 blocks are also on offer in the current licensing round, but no bid deadline has been set for them.