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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

5 Europe Firms Bid on $5.5Bln Libya Gas Deal

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Five European firms and consortiums have bid for the front-end engineering and design and management contract for the $5.5 billion West Libya Gas Project, the Middle East Economic Survey said Monday.

The newsletter named the companies as Foster Wheeler Italiana, France's Technip, Italy' Technomare and Germany's Linde.

It also said Swiss-based ABB Asea Brown Boveri with Kvaerner Process of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom's Acer Construction and Costain were bidding.

The project aims to produce 10 billion cubic meters of gas per year, of which 8 bcm will be exported to Italy.

The newsletter said it has learned that the project's management is studying the bids and will award a deal soon.

Libyan officials are offering flexible terms to encourage investment in gas. Libya plans also to develop a domestic market for gas by replacing oil with gas for power generation.

Libya was under United Nations sanctions for seven years for its refusal to hand over for trial two Libyans suspected of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people.

The suspects were finally surrendered April 5 for trial in the Netherlands and the sanctions have been suspended.

The move focused oil and gas industry attention on investment opportunities in the country's energy industry.

Libya has ambitions to become a major gas hub in the next millennium with pipeline links to its neighbors and major trading partner Italy.