An Aberdeen-based international drilling and engineering contractor confirmed last night it was evacuating its expatriate workers from Libya amid the escalating violence.
KCA Deutag is one of many British energy industry firms with interests in the North African country.
A company spokeswoman said it had 15 operational land rigs in Libya, as well as a significant Libyan workforce.
She added: “As in all of the countries where we operate, we have a small number of expatriates from all over the world, some of whom are Scottish.
“All of our employees are accounted for and evacuation of all expatriates is in progress.
“Our Libyan operations are suspended due to the disruption. We are monitoring the situation closely. Operations will resume as soon as the situation stabilises.”
Oil group Shell, whose work in Libya is also limited to exploration, has temporarily relocated dependents of expats to outside the country, a spokesman said, declining to comment further.
Jon Woodwards, international director at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “Libya is a very important destination for oil and gas exports and many companies will be involved in exporting to the country.”
Aberdeen-based oil and gas environmental-waste contractor TWMA has been servicing customers in Libya since opening an operational base in 2009. Managing director Ronnie Garrick said: “Our Libya operation is staffed by locals and we have no UK citizens in the country. We are not sending staff to there for ongoing or new projects until it is safe to do so.
“We are in daily contact with our staff and customers in Libya, and have temporally suspended onshore operations.”
Oil prices also rocketed to two-year highs yesterday due to the ongoing turmoil in the country, with London Brent oil hitting more than $104 (£64) a barrel. Libya exports 1.5million barrels a day.
Andrew Reid, Aberdeen-based managing director of energy consultancy Douglas-Westwood, said the country has huge oil and gas reserves.
He added: “Onshore and offshore upstream opportunities are significant. Companies active in Libya are seeking to significantly boost production from existing wells that fell into disrepair during the international sanctions era.”
BP signed a deal worth at least £550million in 2007 to explore in Libya. It had hailed the country as being “on the verge of making a significant return to the international arena”.
The agreement, finalised in the presence of then prime minister Tony Blair, gave BP the rights to explore 21,000 square miles – both onshore near the historic desert city of Ghadames and offshore in the Gulf of Sirt.
It sparked significant controversy on both sides of the Atlantic and led to US claims that BP lobbied the UK Government for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al Megrahi.