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Repsol halts output in Libya as government bans arms sales

Government puts stop to trade worth 6.9 million euros last year

Spain's Repsol YPF joined other international oil companies in halting output in Libya due to the revolt in the North African company, and has started to repatriate employees based there.

"We have suspended all operations in Libya today [Tuesday] because of the violence and uncertainty," a Repsol spokesman said.

According sources close to the company, Repsol planned to evacuate about 70 people among employees and family members between Tuesday and today in planes it has leased.

The Spanish oil company has had a presence in Libya since the 1960s and has exploration rights to eight blocks. According to the latest available figures for 2009, it produced 34,777 barrels of oil equivalent a day, comprising 3.8 percent of its total output.

Repsol's shares closed down 1.23 percent yesterday.

Separately, the secretary of state for trade, Alfredo Bonet, has begun proceedings to revoke licenses granted to sell military equipment to Libya, Industry, Tourism and Trade Ministry sources said yesterday.

The government is invoking European Union rules preventing the sale of arms to countries in conflict. In the first half of last year, the government authorized 6.9 million euros in arms sales to Libya.