Chad expels oil firms

Their departure would leave the US oil giant ExxonMobil and the Chadian government to tap the resources together  "while waiting to find a solution with the two other partners”, Mr Deby said in a speech to government and political leaders.

In a bid to increase Chad’s own share of its oil revenue, Mr Deby on Wednesday told his government to renegotiate the contract it signed in 1988 with the US-Malaysian consortium.

A source in the oil ministry said the state would use the Chad Hydrocarbons Company to try to enter the consortium.

Today, Mr Deby said three ministers involved in the deal would cease work and go before judicial authorities"`to answer for their acts”. He did not name the ministers and no further details were available.

Oil has been flowing since 2003 in the Doba basin in southern Chad. In 2004 Chad, which produces less than 200,000 barrels of oil a day, saw its gross domestic product leap 40 per cent after oil production began.

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