BP suspends operations in Libya

Monday 21 February 2011 12:32 GMT

Oil giant BP said today that it was suspending operations in Libya and evacuating expatriate staff and their families amid the escalating violence.

The British company said 40 expat staff and their families, mostly based in the capital, Tripoli, are being evacuated as it temporarily shuts down work on preparations to drill in the Libyan desert.

The move halts operations in the North African county just four years after it returned from a 30-year hiatus.

BP signed a deal worth at least 900 million US dollars (£550 million) in 2007 to explore in Libya.

It said it would monitor the situation on a daily basis and could not confirm when work would start again, but stressed that offshore operations in the region were still open and the closure would not impact oil production.

Oil prices also rocketed to two-year highs today due to the ongoing turmoil in Libya - a key global oil producing region.

London Brent oil jumped to 104.65 US dollars (£64) a barrel.

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