BP, Statoil Halt Libya Operations

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BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, and Statoil, Norway's top oil producer, said they are halting operations in Libya amid escalating political tensions in the North African country that is home to the continent's largest oil reserves. Libya is also an OPEC member.

The news could be especially worrisome for BP (BP) investors because the company was planning a major onshore project in Libya this year. In 2007, BP signed an exploration deal in Libya worth $900 million, saying at the time it was its single largest commitment, the Wall Street Journal reported.

BP said its offshore operations have not been affected yet. Statoil (STO) said it closed its office in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli and that it has evacuated some staffers from the country due to increased political tensions.

Eni SpA (E), Italy's largest company, said its Libyan operations have not yet been impacted. The company has been doing business in the country for over five decades. France's Total (TOT), Europe's third-largest oil company, also said its Libyan operations have not been affected.