The starting pistol has been fired on bids by Britain and other western powers to secure a slice of the oil prize in Libya when France said it was "fair and logical" for its companies to benefit.
Rebel leaders had already made clear that countries active in supporting their insurrection –notably Britain and France –should expect to be treated favourably once the dust of war had settled. But they were anxious to shut down any suggestion that firm promises had already been made to carve up the country's only real wealth-providing industry with foreign powers or companies.
The new Tripoli government has denied the existence of a reported secret deal by which French companies would control more than a third of Libya's oil production in return for Paris's support for the revolution.
Chinese and Russian companies had a significant presence in the country but could face difficulties after being equivocal early on about the rebel plan to unseat Gaddafi.
Abdeljalil Mayouf, an executive at Libyan rebel oil firm Agoco told Reuters: "We don't have a problem with western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."
This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at The Guardian.
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