ONGS,OIL evacuating staff out of strife-torn Libya

New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) State-owned Oil and Natural GasCorp (ONGC) and Oil India are moving staff out of Libya,fearing more violence in the North African nation that isfacing a rebellion.

ONGC has one staffer while OIL had two in the Libyancapital Tripoli and the two state firms are makingarrangements to evacuate them by month-end.

"Contact with the officer has been intermittent," ONGCChairman and Managing Director A K Hazarika said, "We areworking with External Affairs Ministry and the Indian Embassyin Libya to bring him back."

OIL has been able to deliver air-tickets to its officersof two flights out of Tripoli.

"Communication through telephone and internet is verydifficult. But we have been able to speak to them and havemanaged to send tickets across for a couple of flights out ofTripoli tomorrow and the day-after," OIL Chairman and ManagingDirector N M Borah said.

Both the firms have authorised their staffers to leaveLibya by whatever mean possible.

"We have (asked)our officer to be in touch with IndianEmbassy in Libya," ONGC Videsh Ltd Managing Director RS Butolasaid.

OVL, the overseas arm of the state explorer, had threeblocks in Libya - Block NC-189 in Sirte Basin, Block 81-1 inGhadames Basin in south-west Libya and Contract Area 43located in Cyrenaica offshore basin in the Mediterranean sea.

The company had surrendered Block NC-198 and Block 81-1after it did not discover any hydrocarbon and was workingonly on Contract Area 43.

OIL is the operator of two exploration blocks in scrubdesert area of Western Libya. The blocks, where Indian OilCorp was an equal partner, had turned out to be dry and OILhad decided to relinquish them.

"We were in the process of winding up operations (whenthe unrest broke out in Libya)," Borah said.

OIL had, some weeks back, applied to Libyan authoritiesfor relinquishing the two onshore blocks - Block 86 and Block102(4) in oil-prolific Sirte Basin.

OIL was the operator of the two blocks and held 50 percent stake in the venture, while the rest was held by staterefiner IOC. OIL-IOC had won the blocks in the LibyanExploration and Production Service Agreement (EPSA IV) BidRound I in 2004.

The official said OIL also has interest in Area 95/96(Block 2/1, 2

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