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Malta insists on oil exploration rights

Resources Minister George Pullicino has insisted in Parliament that Malta has the right for oil exploration in Area 7 south of Malta - the acreage granted for exploration to Heritage Oil, and the contract in therefore still in force.

Replying to a parliamentary question, the minister denied that Libyan leader Gaddafi had sent any letter of protest to Heritage Oil.

He said various meetings on this issue had been held with the Libyan government and protest letters had been sent.

Malta's view was that this was part of Malta's continental shelf and Malta enjoyed sovereign rights for oil exploration and exploitation in terms of international law.

He recalled that in 1980, after Libya stopped Texaco from drilling for oil for Malta on the Medina Bank, the case was referred to the International Court of Justice. However the court had not taken a decision on this particular site, after objections by Italy.

Malta's claims on Area 7 had been presented to the court and had not changed. Talks are underway with Libya and Italy, the minister said.

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