Sirte Oil Company and whether it is government-owned [LBY30908.E]

Several sources describe Sirte Oil Company (SOC) as either state-owned, or a subsidiary of the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) (United States Energy Information Administration Sept. 1998; MBendi 26 June 1996; Export Sales Prospector 1 Aug. 1997; Business Week 3 Feb. 1986). The United States Energy Information Administration states that SOC was "originally created in 1985 as a joint venture with Grace Petroleum," an American company that was forced to leave Libya by the American government in 1996 (Sept. 1998). The Export Sales Prospector states that SOC was "originally known as Esso Standard Libya, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Esso Standard [that] was nationalized in 1981 and subsequently renamed Sirte Oil Company" (1 Aug. 1997), MBendi, a South African consulting company on African commerce, states that it was formerly Standard Oil Libya (26 June 1996), Platt's Oilgram News indicates that it was a "former Exxon joint venture with Libya's National Oil Corporation" (19 Nov. 1991), and UPI refers to it as "formerly Esso Libya" (17 Jan. 1986).

The United States Energy Information Administration states that "SOC operates the Raguba field in the central part of the Sirte Basin [which] is connected by pipeline to the main line between the Nasser field and Marsa el-Brega" and that SOC is also in charge of the fields at Nasser, Attahaddy and Assumud, of the total 12 oil fields in Libya (Sept. 1998). MBendi states that there are three oil refineries in Libya and that SOC owns the one known as Brega located at Mersa el Brega (3 May 1997; 30 Sept. 1995.). In August 1997, Export Sales Prospector reported that SOC had awarded a contract to a German company for the construction of a 120 km pipeline between Marsa el-Brega and Zueitina and that SOC was also expected to have another line constructed between Zueitina and Bengazi (1 Aug. 1997).

In 1996, MBendi identified SOC's chairman as AH Aoun (Ahmed) with a telephone number of 218 21 602-052 and a fax number of 218 21 601-487 (26 June 1996). In 1997 the Export Sales Prospector indicated a telephone number for SOC of 218 1 602-052/6 and a fax number of 218 1 601-487; however it identified the chairman as M.M. Benniran and the Acting Manager as M.S. Omran (1 Aug. 1997). Two other sources also identify Mansur Benniran as the chairman of SOC (UPI 17 Jan. 1986; Platt's Oilgram News 19 Nov. 1991), with the latter also stating that Benniran was "regarded as number six in the Libyan government hierarchy [in 1997]" (ibid.).

MBendi gives the address of the Brega Refinery as P.O. Box 385 Tripoli (30 Sept. 1995), and the Export Sales Provider gives the address of Sirte Field, Marsa Brega, Box 385, Tripoli as that of SOC (1 Aug. 1997).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Business Week. 3 February 1986. John Rossant and Neal Sandler. "Moving Further and Further into Moscow's Embrace." (NEXIS)

Export Sales Prospector. 1 August 1997. "Libya: Construction Contract Awarded for Planned $61,000,000 Gas Pipeline..." (NEXIS)

MBendi. 3 May 1997. "Country Profile: Libya." [Internet] [Accessed 29 Dec. 1998]

_____. 26 June 1996. "Sirte Oil Company." [Internet] [Accessed 29 Dec. 1998]

_____. 30 September 1995. "Refineries in Libya." [Internet] [Accessed 29 Dec. 1998]

Platt's Oilgram News, n.p. 19 November 1991. "Status of Oil Workers in Libya Put in Doubt." (NEXIS)

United States Energy Information Administration. September 1998. "Libya." [Internet] [Accessed 29 Dec. 1998]

United Press International (UPI). 17 January 1986. James M. Dorsey. "Americans in Libya Angered at Being Political 'Pawns'." (NEXIS)