BP to begin drilling for oil in Libyan desert

Troubled oil giant BP is expected to start drilling for oil in Ghadames basin in the Sahara desert next month, a milestone in its controversial deal with Libya.

Allegations that convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi was released last year in order to smooth the passage of big British deals with Libya have been widespread in the US. BP will invest more than $1bn (£620m) over seven years in two projects, the other being offshore.

Drilling in the seabed was due to start earlier this year, but was delayed shortly after the Gulf of Mexico leak disaster that so damaged the company's reputation.

BP shares closed at 445.95p on Friday, down 3.85p on the start of the day's trading and barely at two-thirds of the record high for the year. Shares sank to 302.9p during the Gulf of Mexico spill, which cost Tony Hayward the chief executive's job.

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