The European Union (EU) is not stealing Libyan oil and investors from Nato countries exited the oil sector during the Gaddafi era, said Daivd Bachmann, commercial counsellor and head of economic and commercial section at the Austrian Embassy in Libya.

“We are not stealing Libyan oil. We pay for what we get,” he said.

Libya’s state-owned oil companies control most of its production but foreign oil companies help sustain its output through joint venture.”

“The reasons for the intensity of European interest in Libyan oil are clear enough. Italy is Libya’s nearest European neighbor and the most important oil trade partner as their shares in oil reached 32% followed by Germany by 14%, France 10%, china 10%, Spain 9%, US 5%, Brazil 3% and 14% goes to the rest of EU.”

Libya produces 1.5 million barrels per day, the fourth largest in Africa, and have 44 billion barrels reserve.

Bachmann remarked that European interest in the oil sector in Libya is an old story started during Gaddafi’s time.

“The foreign oil companies contract with Libya has been rewarded during Al Gaddafi era and there is no room for new contract as most of them will not terminated before 2015 or 2025.”

Moreover the European, China and US share in Libya oil it still the same, he added.

Eni, Europe’s oil giants Eni, produces 244,000 barrels per day while Total of France is already a major player in Libya producing 55,000 barrels per day.

Repsol YPF of Spain produces 45,000 barrels per day and OMV of Austria also hold large contracts from the Gaddafi era producing 33,000 barrels per day, while Britain’s BP have taken a leading role in developing Libya’s emerging gas fields, and will now hope also to ramp up their activities in oil exploration and production, Bachmann said.