February 1, 2009 / 3:42 PM / 10 years ago

Libya puts off planned People Congresses meetings

TRIPOLI, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Libya’s Basic People Congresses (LBPC), the country’s top executive and legislative bodies, have postponed eight-day meetings which were due to begin on Sunday, official sources said.

The main state newspapers, which often reflect the thinking of government policy makers, had urged the Congresses to use the meetings to nationalise foreign oil firms in Libya, saying this would help Libya adapt better to fluctuating oil prices.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who decides oil policy, said last month that Libya and other oil exporters were discussing nationalising foreign oil firms because of the low price level.

But oil firms present in Libya such as Petro-Canada PCA.TO and Repsol YPF (REP.MC) said they had had no indications that nationalisation was being studied and saw no real possibility of it happening.

The General People Congress, the equivalent of a national parliament and the umbrella body of the LBPCs, had announced last week that the LBPCs, which meet in cities and villages across the country, would meet from Feb. 1 to 8.

But residents said no meetings took place, and one senior official said without explanation “The scheduled meetings by LBPCs are delayed for a few days.”

Leaders of the General People Congress were not immediately available for comment.

LBPCs, the backbone of Libya’s Jamahiriya regime, meet at district and province level to vote on government policy.

Libya plans to invest $30-$40 billion in the oil sector and to nearly double crude oil output by 2012. It now pumps about 1.7 million barrels of oil a day. (Writing by Lamine Ghanmi; editing by Tim Pearce) (maghreb.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com, +212-37 720065))

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