Shares mixed for oil companies in Libya

interns Contributor

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares were mixed Wednesday for energy companies that do business in Libya as scattered battles flared throughout the capital.

Eni, the largest foreign oil producer in Libya, Repsol, Total, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. have been waiting for months to restart oil production operations. The rebellion has essentially shut down oil field activity since February.

When rebels advanced into Tripoli and invaded Moammar Gadhafi’s compound this week, shares jumped for many of those companies on the expectation that a new regime could quickly get oil fields back to work.

Those hopes were dashed, however, when skirmishes continued and Gadhafi continued to send defiant messages. Experts also noted that rebels will face many challenges before they can start selling oil, including the lifting of U.N. sanctions, forming a new government and securing the country.

By Wednesday, analysts said investors had already priced in the ouster of Gadhafi as well as the expectation that oil probably won’t begin flowing for at least several months.

“There’s still violence. Gadhafi is still there,” independent analyst Andrew Lipow said. “The market is saying that it needs more confirmation that oil production will resume.”

Shares in Spain’s Repsol YPF rose 2.4 percent to 18.66 euros on the Madrid stock exchange Wednesday. In U.S. trading Wednesday afternoon, Italy’s ENI SpA shares slipped 44 cents, or 1 percent, to $38.88.

ConocoPhillips inched up 7 cents to $65.79, Marathon Oil was down 49 cents to $25.52, and Occidental Petroleum slipped 38 cents to $82.31.

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