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    Daily Yamazaki, am/pm stores to handle Japan Post parcels; Shell inks deal with Libya.

    Convenience store operators Daily Yamazaki Co. and am/pm Japan Co. will handle Japan Post's packages at all outlets of the two store chains beginning in September, the state-run postal service provider said.

    According to the Kyodo News, Japan Post's Yu-Pack parcel delivery service will be available at 1,910 Daily Yamazaki outlets and 1,350 am/pm Japan outlets as part of Japan Post's plan to enhance its delivery operations ahead of its privatization.

    In other international news, oil giant Royal Dutch/Shell Group has agreed to a deal with Libya that will allow the company to drill for natural gas and develop gas export facilities in the former pariah state, according to Reuters.

    Shell, which is grappling with falling production and dwindling oil and gas reserves, said the deal was an important step in rebuilding its resource base.

    The deal also shows how Libya's massive hydrocarbon reserves are facilitating its reintegration into the international community, as tight oil supplies send prices to record levels.

    Shell has won the right to explore for gas in five blocks in the resource-rich Sirte Basin and to develop an existing liquefied natural gas plant on the Libyan Coast with the North African state's National Oil Corp (NOC).

    The parties hope to increase the annual output of the Marsa al-Brega LNG plant to 3.2 million tons from 0.7 million now.

    If sufficient gas is found at the five blocks or is secured from third parties, Shell and NOC will later develop a new LNG facility.

    Shell replaced less than half the oil and gas it pumped last year with new reserves and the deal cheered investors.

    “The jury is still out on their efficiency in finding oil but any good news they can come up with on this front is very welcome,” said Richard Lewis, fund manager at New Star Asset Management, whose portfolio includes Shell shares.

    Libya's ties with the West have improved dramatically since it announced in December 2003 it would stop pursuing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The United States ended a broad trade embargo on Libya in September.

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