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Ahead of the OPEC meeting on May 25 when the cartel will officially announce an output cut extension into 2018, Libya reported its daily crude oil production had reached over 814,000 barrels per day.
A member of the board of the National Oil Corporation told Bloomberg yesterday that the resumption of production at the Sharara and El Feel fields had made the increase possible. This, based on a previous statement from Jadalla Alaokali, is more than 100,000 bpd more the amount Libya pumped at the end of April.
Sharara is the country’s largest oil field, which was shut down for three weeks because the pipeline that carried crude from it to the Zawiya export terminal was blocked. El Feel, also called the Elephant field, had been idle since 2015.
The current production rate is still far from the 1.6 million barrels the North African producer boasted before the 2011 civil war but significantly higher than what it produced last year. For this year, the NOC plans to bring the total up to 1.32 million bpd, up from an earlier target of 1.1 million bpd.
Libya has been exempted from the production cut deal that OPEC struck with 11 non-OPEC producers last December, as has been Nigeria, both having suffered production declines due to militant activity. Now both are ramping up output, while OPEC is preparing to extend the original agreement into 2018, according to a fresh joint statement from Saudi Arabia’s Khalid al-Falih and Russia’s Alexander Novak.
There is no talk that Libya or Nigeria will be pressured into joining the agreement, with the joint statement only saying that the minister hoped more oil producers will join the cuts, which will remain at the initially agreed level of 1.8 million bpd for the whole group, of which 1.2 million bpd will come from OPEC.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.