Report: Oil companies have fostered cozy relationship with Libyan government

While the Times was not able to determine which companies agreed to the deal, the newspaper said, “Several industry officials and someone close to the settlement, all speaking only on condition of anonymity, said the payments went through but declined to identify the businesses.”

Several Senate Democrats have investigated the role of the oil industry in the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison in 2009. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and others alleged last year that the release was motivated in part by a desire to preserve an oil exploration agreement between the Libyan government and BP.

The Times also lists a number of other deals between oil companies and the Libyan government.

Here are two examples from the story:

“In 2008, Occidental Petroleum, based in California, paid a $1 billion 'signing bonus' to the Libyan government as part of 30-year agreement. A company spokesman said it was not uncommon for firms to pay large bonuses for long-term contracts.

“The year before, Petro-Canada, a large Canadian oil company, made a similar $1 billion payment after Libyan officials granted it a 30-year oil exploration license, according to diplomatic cables and company officials.”