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Libya Looks To Bring Majors Back To Its Oil Industry

Libya Waha oil field

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is holding talks with international oil companies that could result in increased investment and production in Libya’s oil industry, if security across the country improves, NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla has recently told S&P Global Platts.

Libya’s oil production has just hit its highest level since 2013, Sanalla said earlier this week.

If the security situation in the country improves, production could further rise from the recent 1.278 million bpd, Sanalla said. The country could lift production by “hundreds of thousands” of barrels of oil per day, security permitting, the head of the national oil company told Bloomberg over the weekend.

Libya still has plans to raise its oil production to 2 million bpd and beyond by 2022, Sanalla told S&P Global Platts after attending the OPEC/non-OPEC panel meeting in Algeria on Sunday, where the partners in the deal discussed the state of the oil market.

Libya is able to meet some of the expected supply shortage, if security in the country is maintained, Sanalla told Platts.

The Libyan oil company is talking to international oil companies and hopes to lure some of them back to the country, where the security situation has been fragile since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

“We stand ready to welcome new international partners to Libya and restart operations with those that were forced to leave due to the conflict,” Sanalla told Platts.

Related: $100 Oil Is A Distinct Possibility

In March this year, France’s Total signed a deal to acquire the 16.33-percent stake of the Waha oil concessions held by Marathon Oil for US$450 million in cash. The deal, however, has yet to receive final approval by Libyan authorities. The final go-ahead has also been delayed by the deadly terrorist attack on NOC’s headquarters earlier this month, Sanalla said.

In early September, gunmen stormed NOC’s headquarters in Tripoli, killing two employees and injuring 25 others.

A port closure for more than two weeks in June-July blocked 850,000 bpd of Libya’s oil (nearly all Libyan production) from being exported from four ports. As a result, Libya’s July oil production slumped to just 670,000 bpd, as per OPEC’s secondary sources. In August, production recovered to average 926,000 bpd, according to OPEC’s latest monthly report, but the security situation in the country is still fragile, making Libya one of the wild cards in predicting supply in a tightening oil market.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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