After the Libyan civil war last year call but halted the country's oil and natural gas industry, BP on Tuesday announced it will resume its exploration work in the biggest oil-producing nation in Africa.

BP stopped exploring in Libya in February 2011, shortly after the beginning of the revolt that toppled dictator Muammar Ghadafi. Western oil companies, fearing for the safety of their employees, left the country but are returning. BP's return however comes months after France's Total and Italy's Eni announced, in September 2011, they intended to resume their operations in the country.  

BP said it has resumed as of May 15 the contract it negotiated with Libya's National Oil Corporation in 2007. Since then, roughly 12,000 square miles both on and offshore were seismically assessed by BP. The contract included a commitment to 5 offshore and 12 onshore wells, BP said.

Libya is the largest oil producer on the African continent, holding roughly 46.4 billion barrels of oil. The country also has an estimated 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The country exports most of its oil to Italy.

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