BP declared force majeure since 21 February 2011 because of civil war that ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

BP’s EPSA contract includes commitments to drill five wells offshore and 12 wells onshore.

BP Exploration executive vice president Michael Daly said the lifting of force majeure is a significant milestone in the company’s plans to return to the exploration of onshore and offshore blocks in our existing EPSA contract.

"We look forward to working with the NOC and our partners in the Libyan Investment Authority to safely implement our drilling programme," he added.

NOC chairman Nuri Berruien said, "The NOC will work with BP to deliver the objectives of the EPSA and extends all help and support to BP in order to implement the agreed work program as per existing EPSA terms."

In December 2007, BP had inked a $900m exploration deal in Libya.

Since then, the company has acquired over 31,000 km2 of 3D seismic data over blocks offshore in the Sirt basin and onshore in the Ghadames basin.

The exploration program was interrupted in 2011 before the commencement of drilling operations.