London: With Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year-long regime battling for survival, global energy majors are eyeing to grab Libya's lucrative oil deposits, according to a media report.
Libya holds more reserves than any other country in Africa with more than 40 billion barrels of "black gold".
Now – as the Libyan rebels start to draw up plans for their own government – oil and gas will be at the top of their agenda, British newspaper 'The Sun' reported on Thursday.
A Libyan rebel representative for reconstruction, Ahmed Jehani, also has hinted that all existing deals with global companies would be honored if they come into power.
All oil Giants, including BP, quit Libya when the revolution started in February. BP was just days away from drilling its first exploration well in a vast "block" – Ghadames – to the west of the country.
Expert Philip Lambert, from Lambert Energy Advisory, said: "There are tens of billions of barrels still out there."
"Libya is a country on Europe's doorstep. It's got huge potential. The world needs more oil and, with a benevolent partnership between government and oil companies, this potential could now be unlocked."
Libya has long been a "jewel in the crown" for the world's oil industry. It holds huge reserves. And the crude is the right kind of oil: Light, sweet crude perfect for low-sulphur fuels desired in the modern world.
Libya's production was up to 1.6 million barrels a day when the uprising began. It has since shrunk to 60,000. Its importance was reflected by the huge spike in the oil price in February – and its fall when the rebels entered Tripoli this week.
Libya was opened up to foreign investment when sanctions were lifted in 2003.
Italian giant ENI holds the trump card in the Libyan industry, given the long-held ties between the Gaddafi regime and the country.
Spain's Repsol is another with a foot in the door. But Russian and Chinese rivals including CNOOC are licking their lips at the riches in store.