* To deliver to German Miro refinery - source
* Other U.S. majors also close to resuming buying
* Purchase to help further normalise Libya oil trade
By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Emma Farge
LONDON, Sept 29 ConocoPhillips became
the first U.S. major to buy Libyan oil following the end of
international sanctions in a move to help the country restore
normal oil trade after seven months of civil war.
Trading sources told Reuters that tanker Hellas Warrior,
which loaded 381,000 barrels of Sarir and Mesla crude, was
bought by Conoco for delivery to France's Mediterranean port of
Fos/Lavera, and one source said it was destined for Germany's
Libya's Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco) gave the cargo to
Vitol in payment for oil product deliveries, and Vitol then sold
it to Conoco, the sources said.
U.S. companies were among the most active buyers of light
and low-sulphur Libyan crude before the civil war and were the
first to stop purchases after Washington and the European Union
slapped sanctions on the government of now-ousted leader Muammar
Sanctions against Libya have been removed or eased about a
month ago, but sources at U.S. firms have said it will take a
few weeks before they can resume purchases of Libyan crude.
"We have done most of the work and are close to sorting out
our internal problems to be able to buy again," said a source at
a major U.S. firm other than Conoco.
A source at Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed
that the transaction had taken place and said it expected to
start dealing with U.S. oil firms directly in the near future.
"That deal was done through Agoco. We have some contacts
with the United States and they tell us they can start buying
again," he said.
Agoco, a subsidiary of NOC, has been handling marketing
operations in recent months because of international sanctions
on the umbrella firm.
The NOC source said that it would start marketing crude
again by mid-October.
Oil is slowly starting to flow again from Libya after seven
months of fighting and, if fresh projections prove correct, may
beat the expectations of analysts, who think it could take three
years to reach pre-war output levels.
Libyan oil industry is dominated by European players,
although U.S. companies such as Conoco, Marathon , Hess
and Occidental are also involved in a number of
exploration and production projects in the country, the holder
of Africa's largest oil reserves.
(Reporting by Emma Farge and Dmitry Zhdannikov, editing by Jane