By Rob Davies
Last updated at 12:17 PM on 22nd October 2011
British firms are arming themselves for a scramble to win up to £200billion worth of contracts in Libya, as the North African nation looks to its reconstruction.
UK Trade & Investment, the government department that promotes UK plc abroad, said British firms had ‘a strong commitment to helping the National Transitional Council and any future government in Libya to rebuild’.
UKTI estimates that Libyan contracts, in sectors from oil and gas to education and construction, could be worth £200billion over the next decade.
Oil firms Shell (up 35p to 2250p) and BP (up 9.6p to 439.375p) have already held talks with the transitional regime, which has promised to honour existing legal contracts to explore the Libyan desert
Companies known to be considering entering Libya include engineering firm Arup and architecture and design company Benoy. But rat-catching firm Rentokil, which previously counted Gaddafi among its best clients, said it had no plans to return to Libya.
UKTI minister Lord Green has already been on a trade mission to Libya last month and the department is thought to be planning more trips in the future.
However, the NTC has said it will not sign any new contracts until after elections, likely to take place next year.
Back in Britain, firms which count the Libyan Investment Authority among key investors are hoping that the UK Treasury will unlock the sovereign wealth fund’s assets.