A petroleum worker walks through a Libyan oil refinery in Al Brega, Libya. Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and petroleum exports account for 95 percent of the country's export earnings.
A petroleum worker walks through a Libyan oil refinery in Al Brega, Libya. Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and petroleum exports account for 95 percent of the country's export earnings. - 
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Marketplace

JEREMY HOBSON: We continue our coverage of the economic effects of the unrest in the Arab World now with a story about Libyan oil. Rebels have regained control of two key oil cities and they claim they have signed a contract to sell the oil.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard has that story.


STEPHEN BEARD: Backed by the allies' airpower, the rebel's ambitions are growing fast. They say they've sealed a deal with an energy rich Gulf state. Qatar has apparently agreed to take all the oil the rebels can produce. That is said to be just over 100,000 barrels a day. And could be increased.

Julian Lee is with the Centre for Global Energy Studies. He says this may help the rebels, but it won't make a big difference to the world oil market.

JULIAN LEE: Getting back to anything like Libya's capacity production of about 1.6 million barrels a day is probably a long, long way in the future.

He says most foreign oil workers -- including the key technical staff required to keep the oil fields running -- have fled the country. And they seem unlikely to return for some time to come.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.