Libya’s oil revenue took a beating in the first half of 2019, according to its central bank as reported by Reuters.
In the first six months of the year, Libya’s oil revenues were down 11.2% from the same period in 2018, the data shows, falling to $10.2 billion in H1.
Like most OPEC members, oil is the backbone of the Libyan economy, representing 92.8% of its total income in H1.
Despite the sagging revenue, oil production in the first two quarters of 2019 was higher than in 2018, according to OPEC secondary sources found in its Monthly Oil Market Report.
However, oil prices were less favorable in the beginning of 2019 than they were at the beginning of 2018, with the OPEC basket price the first week of January in 2019 running about $10 under the level it was trading at that same time during the year prior.
The conflict in Libya has made it difficult for the country to keep up its oil flows at a time when lower oil prices have made it all the more important that it do so. Still, Libya is holding onto ambitious plans to expand its oil production, and a recent HIS Markit analyst, Fotios Katsoulas, Libya’s oil production may very well increase to 2 million barrels per day by 2023.
Still, Libya is trying to put to rest the current open conflict that exists between the UN-recognized government and the eastern-affiliated LNA. Its ability to end the conflict will encourage more foreign companies to do business in Libya, which are already in talks with the OPEC country for deals worth at least $60 billion.
That countries are still interested in even discussing the possibility of venturing into Libya says a lot for its oil potential, which are estimated to contain 48 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, according to OPEC.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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