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Libya Earmarks $50B To Boost Oil Production

The state-held National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya has a budget of US$50 billion to invest in its oil and gas sector this year, as it looks to overcome safety and security challenges and restore oil production to the pre-civil war level of 1.6 million bpd, the chairman of one of NOC’s subsidiaries told S&P Global Platts in Japan.

“Fifty billion dollars is the budget for this year to improve oil and gas production and to improve downstream [operations] but most of this is for crude oil,” Shaaban Bsebsu, chairman of Ras Lanuf Oil & Gas Processing Company, told Platts on the sidelines of an industry event in Tokyo.

Libya is looking to boost its crude oil production to 1.6 million bpd in 2019 from around 1 million bpd currently, as it aims to solve security issues and invest in the upgrade of the old oil producing systems.

Libya plans to have its crude oil production reach 2 million bpd next year, according to the manager.

Bsebsu, however, underlined the security challenges Libya’s oil sector faces, with various militant groups striving to gain control over oil infrastructure and assets.

The country’s budget deficit halved in 2018 compared to 2017, thanks to higher revenues from oil, Libya’s central bank said earlier this month.

It is the central bank that allocates the budget to NOC, after authorization from the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.

Related: The ‘Venezuela Benefit’ For Canadian Oil Producers Is Limited

Yet, analysts think that with presidential and legislative elections this year, Libya could continue to face security problems at its oil infrastructure.

Libya’s oil production and exports have been disrupted since early December, due to port closures courtesy of bad weather as well as security incidents and issues at its largest oil field Sharara, which remains shut-in since early December.    

NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said last week that “in order to increase production rates and contribute to national growth, NOC must remain independent and removed from all political or military bargaining.”

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“NOC reaffirms its call for the immediate and unconditional restoration of security at Sharara. We reject any type of blackmail and intimidation, as we work to improve the lives of every Libyan,” Sanalla said in a statement.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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