US companies are thinking of moving back into the Libyan oil and gas market. US private equity giant Carlyle is in talks to acquire Libya’s state-controlled oil refining and marketing operation, Tamoil. Al-Saadi Gaddafi, the son of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has confirmed that Carlyle is one of four or five groups involved in an international tender to buy 100 per cent of Tamoil – estimated worth €3bn.

Tamoil is currently owned by Oilinvest, Libya’s foreign oil investment arm. It refines, markets and sells the country’s oil, and has around 3,000 petrol stations in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain, with a further 150 in Africa.

The Washington DC-based Carlyle has been known in the past for its links to prominent right-wing US politicians. These include the former US secretary of state James Baker and the former US defense secretary Frank Carlucci, as well as the former British prime minister John Major. None of the men retains positions.

Ironically the sale could have implications for Juventus, the Italian football club recently relegated to Serie B after a high-profile match-fixing scandal, as Tamoil is the club’s shirt sponsor.