Austria will release 150 million euros in frozen Libyan funds to finance humanitarian projects and fuel in the North African country, the Austrian economic delegate for Libya, David Bachmann, said on Monday.
The decision meant that Austria, which has a total of 1.2 billion euros in frozen Libyan assets, was still lagging behind other European countries. France (over two billion euros), and Britain and the Netherlands (about one billion each) have already released frozen Libyan funds unconditionally.
Bachmann said he hoped Austrian firms would now submit projects, like a mobile hospital or water purification plant. He said that to ensure the money was used for its destined purposes, the Libyan national bank would have to file an application to the Austrian one.
The first Austrian beneficiary was the national oil and gas company, OMV, which confirmed last Friday that it was delivering 30,000 tons of diesel to Libya. The financing would be from the released Libyan funds, but the OMV would dispense with its profit surplus charge.
Before the conflict in Libya, OMV produced 33,000 barrels of oil in Libya per day, 10 percent of its entire production. The first delivery of diesel would be to support water and electricity supplies. The Austrian firm said it was in direct contact with the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC).
But the OMV said it believed several months would pass before it fully returned to Libya. It would send personnel there as soon as the security situation allowed, said a spokesman in Vienna.