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Libya’s Oil Production Hits Highest Since 2013

Brega oil storage

Libya’s oil production has hit its highest level since 2013, the chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanalla, told Bloomberg in response to questions on Sunday.

If the security situation in the country improves, Libya’s 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, according to the head of the national oil company.

However, the situation in Libya remains uncertain, which could prompt the national oil firm to revise down its production target to pump more than 2 million bpd in 2022, according to Sanalla. 

Over the past few months, Libya’s oil production has seen wild fluctuations as a result of attacks and blockades on oil facilities that have frequently shut in oil production and exports.

Just last week, members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) blocked the airfield of the Wafaa oil field in southwestern Libya, attempting to blackmail the operator of the field into awarding an unwarranted catering contract. The runway at the oil field reopened after one day, with no production affected. This latest incident at a Libyan oil field, however, highlights the fragile state of the oil industry in the North African OPEC member.  

Earlier this month, several 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.

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.

According to S&P Global Platts trade flow data, Libya’s oil exports jumped to more than 1 million bpd in the first half of September, up from just below 900,000 bpd in August, as a 120,000-bpd refinery is shut due to power issues, thus freeing more oil for exports.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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