The Evisceration of the Libyan Independents

  • John M. Blair


OIL PRODUCTION IN LIBYA has been unusual in two important respects: the rapidity of its growth up to 1970 and the prominence of independent companies. In less than a decade, output increased nearly twenty-fold, soaring from 182,000 barrels a day in 1962 to 3,318,000 in 1970. By 1970, Libya had become the fourth largest producer among the OPEC countries, ranking only slightly below such long-established producers as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela.1 This remarkable performance was immeasurably aided by two circumstances. The sulphur content of Libyan crude was among the lowest in the world—an important consideration to consuming countries that were beginning to become pollution-conscious. And its geographical proximity to European markets gave Libya (a “short-haul” country) an important freight advantage over the “long-haul” Persian Gulf countries.


Saudi Arabia Middle East Joint Approach OPEC Country Antitrust Division 
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  1. 11.
    M. A. Adelman, The World Petroleum Market, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 1972, p. 173.Google Scholar
  2. 23.
    Hearings on Multinational Corporations, Pt. 5, pp. 10–11. For defenses of Occidental’s producing practices by its petroleum engineers, see Charles L. DesBrisay and E. Leon Daniel, “Supplementary Recovery Developments of the Inestar ‘A’ and ‘D’ Reef Field, Libyan Arab Republic,” Journal of Petroleum Technology, July 1972, and Charles L. DesBrisay, John W. Gray, and Allen Spivak, “Miracle Flood Performance of the Inestar ‘D’ Reef Field, Libyan Arab Republic,” Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, p. SPE 5080, 1974.Google Scholar

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© John M. Blair 1976

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  • John M. Blair

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