Open trade draws U.S. oil to Libya

Lybian leader Moamer Kadhafi during his trip to Paris

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Not long ago, Libya and its ruler, Moamer Kadhafi, were pariahs of the world community. Libya was accused of sponsoring terrorism. The U.S.-led efforts for international economic sanctions.

But in 2004, Kadhafi renounced weapons of mass destruction. Now, the U.S. is restoring diplomatic ties. And as Gretchen Wilson reports, Western countries are anxious to begin trade relations.


Gretchen Wilson: France just announced it will sell Libya aircraft and civilian nuclear reactors in a package of deals worth $15 billion. The Bush Administration's blessed the agreement, saying it trusts Libya to follow non-proliferation rules.

It's just the latest example of how the oil-rich country is fast emerging from international isolation. Libya's proven oil reserves are the ninth-largest in the world.

That's attracted U.S. firms. Chevron quickly snapped up deals after sanctions were lifted in 2004. ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum have also moved in. And with oil now near $100 a barrel, it's also attracting mid-sized companies, like Oklahoma-based Bronco Drilling, an oil and gas exploration firm.

But not everyone's ready to celebrate. Amnesty International says human rights violations continue under Kadhafi's regime.

In Johannesburg, I'm Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

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