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logo_pgnigTRIPOLI: Polish state oil and gas firm PGNiG expects to start drilling its first Libyan exploration well next month, Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said, fanning hopes its energy industry is returning to normal following the 2011 war.

OPEC member Libya has impressed analysts by resuming oil and gas activities quickly after the end of the uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, ramping up crude production close to pre-war levels of 1.6 million barrels per day.

But it has so far had only limited success in luring back security-conscious foreign firms to explore, with an attack by Islamist militants on a gas plant in neighbouring Algeria in January contributing to the unease.

BP has said it was reconsidering plans to drill for oil in Libya due to heightened security fears following the attack on the Tigantourine gas complex, which left 38 dead.

In a statement on its website, Libya's NOC said Marek Karabula, president of the board of the Polish Oil and Gas Co. Libya (POGC), which is owned by PGNiG, conveyed the gas exploration plans to Libyan

Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi at a meeting in Tripoli on Tuesday.

The NOC quoted Karabula as saying it "will begin drilling at the start of April 2013".

State-controlled PGNiG was awarded two exploration blocks in Libya's southwestern Murzuq basin in a 2007 exploration and production licensing round.

POGC, which had completed seismic surveying of its concession area, had been planning to drill its first exploration well when the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began in February 2011.

Like other foreign oil and gas firms, it evacuated its staff during the fighting.