Tamoil Africa says wins Chadian oil search permit

TRIPOLI Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:33am GMT

TRIPOLI Dec 26 (Reuters) - Libya-based Tamoil Africa said on Wednesday it had won a licence to explore for oil in Chad but denied media reports it had a plan to invest in oil exploration in the disputed Western Sahara.

"Tamoil Africa had reached a deal with the Chadian government and was awarded an oil exploration permit on three areas Irdiss 1, Idriss 2 and Wadjadou 1 which are located near the border with Libya," it said in a statement.

Tamoil Africa, a diversified energy company active in countries including Egypt, Chad, Niger and Mali, added:

"The company denies emphatically some media reports about an oil investment deal in Western Sahara. It did not sign any agreement on oil exploration permits in Western Sahara and it has no plan to invest in any oil operations there."

Investing in Western Sahara is a sensitive issue for any Libyan company because the Tripoli government takes a neutral stand on the conflict pitting the Algeria-backed Polisario Front independence movement against Morocco. (Reporting by Salah Sarrar; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)