Now that Gaddafi has a two million Libyan dinar (£1 million) price on his head ‘dead or alive’ it is only a matter of time before someone takes advantage of it.


As Gaddafi and his henchmen have been removed somebody (or bodies) have to take over and that will mean taking charge of all the Libyan assets that have been frozen in foreign countries as well as those, such as the gold, that remain undiscovered, together with the obvious oil reserves.

When you consider that a BBC report on 26th May 2011 put the value of the frozen Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) at about $70 billion, making it the 13th largest sovereign fund in the world (no mean feat for the 105th most populated country) you get an idea of the size of the asset pile people will be fighting for control over. £12 billion of this is frozen in the UK.

This should of course belong to the new Libyan government, but no elections have taken place yet, they are not due for about six months.

But Libya needs the money now to rebuild its infrastructure and oil based economy as quickly as possible.

The UN is on the case and the UK, USA and France are drawing up a draft resolution to free up frozen funds to pay for establishing some sort of government, medical supplies and humanitarian aid to its people.

That deals with the 'soft assets' as James Rickards, senior managing director of Tangent put it in this video when talking to Bloomberg.

But will we ever find the 100 tons of gold, of which Gaddafi reportedly used 25 tons for fighting his battles with the rebels. Rickards thinks not.

But moving forward who will get to help Libya with exploiting its oil?

John Daly writing in OilPrice.com points out that there are many potential competitors for the 1.6 million barrels a day (2% of world consumption) that Libya can push out once the recent problems have been dealt with.

As he says there is ENI (Italy), Total (France), BP (Britain) and many US companies. But he also says that there is also another contender, China, whose recent experience in Africa of not only building industries but also of building a whole country infrastructure may make it a very attractive choice for the Libyans.

At the end of the day we may think they owe us something for helping them oust Gaddafi, but this is just business after all. As John Daly puts it ‘In the coming weeks Libya's National Transitional Council will doubtless be inundated with offers from various companies promoting their advantages. Total and ENI have the inside geographical edge, being across the Mediterranean, while American and British companies have cutting edge technology to refurbish Libya's decrepit energy infrastructure.

But it is too early to count China out from the race – they do not come burdened by history, and they come with deeper pockets than all their competitors.’

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