BP suspends operations in Libya

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BP is evacuating expatriate staff and their families amid the escalating violence in Libya

Oil giant BP is suspending operations in Libya and evacuating expatriate staff and their families amid the escalating violence.

The British company said 40 expat staff and their families, mostly based in the capital Tripoli are being evacuated as it temporarily shuts down work on preparations to drill in the Libyan desert.

The move halts operations in the North African country just four years after it returned from a 30-year hiatus.

BP signed a deal worth at least £550 million in 2007 to explore in Libya.

It said it will monitor the situation on a daily basis and could not confirm when work would start again, but stressed that offshore operations in the region are still open and the closure will not impact oil production.

Oil prices also rocketed to two-year highs on Monday due to the ongoing turmoil in Libya – a key global oil producing region.

London Brent oil jumped to £64 a barrel.

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