U.S. oil companies, security contractors look to Libya

With Col. Muammar Gaddafi dead and the future of Libya's government uncertain, U.S. businesses are looking to the oil-rich North African nation for opportunity.

Among the companies expected to expand operations in post-Gaddafi Libya is the Oasis Group, a partnership of three U.S.-based oil companies: ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil of Houston and New York City-based Hess. The three companies independently won concessions throughout Libya during the first auction of oil rights in 1955 and later pooled their acquisitions. Libya nationalized part of Oasis in the years following Gaddafi's seizure of power in 1969.

After the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Libya in 1986 as part of President Reagan's war on terrorism, the Oasis partners were three of five U.S. oil companies that kept holdings in Libya. The companies returned to their former oil and gas exploration and production operations in the Waha concessions in 2005, working with the Libyan National Oil Corp. as the majority partner.

Before the Libyan civil war broke out  earlier this year as part of the wider Arab Spring uprising, the country was producing about 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. That figure is now down to about 400,000 barrels, with most of that going for domestic use, the Washington Post reports.

In the chaos of the war, Libya's oil terminals have been damaged and looters have stolen equipment from oil fields -- and that's creating yet another opportunity for U.S. business: the private security contracting industry.

The Security Contracting Network -- an organization based in Alexandria, Va. that helps private security contractors find work -- expects plenty of jobs to open up in the country. As SCN wrote in a recent blog post titled "The New Libya; What It Means to You":

There will be an uptick of activity as foreign oil companies scramble to get back into Libya. This means an increase in demand for risk assessment and security related services.

The U.S. and other governments will continue to establish themselves in the “New Libya” via [the Department of State] and other various NGOs. This will also mean an increase in demand for enterprise set-up and operational related services. This certainly includes security related services. Keep an eye on who wins related contracts, follow the money, and find your next job.

Foreign businesses will swarm Libya in the hunt for new opportunity, especially in the areas of construction, infrastructure, public/healthcare related services, logistics and even IT. This all means additional opportunity.

Keep your eye on Libya. If you are looking for a new gig or just plain ready to move on to a new place Libya could be for you.