France strikes oil deal with new Libyan regime: report

France has secured a deal with Libya's rebel interim rulers to exploit a third of the country's oil reserves, the daily Liberation reported on Thursday, citing a letter to the emir of Qatar.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he “had no knowledge” of a “formal accord” but it was “logical” that countries like France which helped the National Transitional Council take power should take part in reconstruction.  

Liberation said a letter from the NTC dated April 3 informed the emir, another major backer of the revolt, of a deal “to assign 35 percent of crude oil to France in exchange for its total and permanent support of our Council.”  

The report was an embarrassment for France as it prepared to host later on Thursday a meeting of world leaders and senior officials dubbed “friends of Libya” to win recognition for the NTC and its interim rule in Libya.  

On August 29, the Italian oil giant ENI signed its own deal with the NTC to restart its oil production in Libya and restart a major gas pipeline running from the Libyan oil fields under the Mediterranean to Italy.

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French fountains site of protest against Total’s Brazil oil project

Fountains were tinted black in several French towns Saturday during protests against plans by oil giant Total to drill near a coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon.

French fountains site of protest against Total's Brazil oil project
Greenpeace activists stand in a fountain in Nantes. Photo: AFP

The protesters insist the plan threatens a “unique” natural habitat.

“The Amazon reef is not an oil well” and “Defend the Amazon reef,” read banners held aloft by supporters of Greenpeace and environmental group ANV-Cop21 as they converged on some 30 towns including Paris, Rennes in the west, Bordeaux in the south, and Nancy in the east.

At the stylish early nineteenth century Lions de Nubie fountain in Paris' La Villette district, some protesters daubed themselves with molasses, waded into the water and smeared the sticky black goo on the structure.

“Total insists on going after oil when there are ecosystems and jewels of (ecological) diversity to preserve. It's no longer the age of oil but of transition” to cleaner forms of energy, Greenpeace campaigner Edina Ifticene told AFP.

Photo: AFP

The protests came as Total was preparing to unveil the findings of a new study into the planned project's impact to Brazilian authorities.

Greenpeace has documented the existence of coral in the target area.

In late May, Brazil's environmental agency Ibama urged Total to look deeper into the consequences of drilling, judging its initial study “insufficient.”

“We have four months to respond. We are being asked to undertake extra studies and we shall do so,” Total chairman Patrick Pouyanne said at the time, insisting thecompany would ensure the plan respects the environment.

At the same time, the company rejected as “non-existent” the risks highlighted by opponents.

Greenpeace says the coral reef, discovered in 2016 — some three years after Total bought exploration blocks just a handful of kilometres (miles) away, is larger than first thought and extends into the area where Total wants to drill.

It is concerned of the effects of a potential oil spill on the ecosystem and nearby coastal mangrove.

“We have to stop this abuse. The oil firm should not drill near this ecosystem and near this mangrove which, if touched by an oil slick would be impossible to clean up,” insisted Ifticene.

READ ALSO: Paris: Black-clad protesters prompt partial evacuation of Louvre