* EU expands sanctions against Libya
* Oil industry targeted
(Adds details, updates number of companies affected)
BRUSSELS, March 23 European Union governments
agreed on Wednesday to impose sanctions on Libya's National Oil
Company, in line with last week's United Nations resolution, and
to add five of its subsidiaries to an EU embargo.
The move follows a decision by the U.N. Security Council to
authorise a no-fly zone over Libya and expand the sanctions
against Muammar Gaddafi and his close allies that were first
imposed in February.
In addition to the U.N. measures, the European Union has
also imposed a series of further sanctions, such as asset
freezes, over the past month against Gaddafi and firms
associated with him or his inner circle.
The list so far has included more than 30 people, as well as
entities such as Libya's central bank and the $70 billion Libyan
Investment Authority. Germany has pushed for the inclusion of
energy firms, but Italy has until now opposed this.
"The assets freeze is extended to the new entities on the
U.N. list...including the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and
also to five subsidiaries of the NOC designated autonomously by
the EU," EU member governments said in a statement.
The names of the subsidiaries will be made public on
Thursday in the Official Journal of the European Union.
However, the impact of an oil embargo against Libya is
likely to be limited because the country's oil industry has been
brought to a standstill by heavy fighting between rebels and
Gaddafi's government. [ID:nLDE72K1XU]
Libya, the world's 17th-largest oil producer, had been
producing 1.6 million barrels per day before the conflict began.
Some 85 percent of its production was exported to Europe,
including about a third that went to Italy. The NOC accounted
for half of the country's output.
(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Rex Merrifield and