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Libya’s oil production that has dropped sharply in recent months is set to nearly halve in the coming years thanks to an oil blockade that has been in force since January.
Libya’s production has dropped from 1.186 million bpd last November to 796,000 bpd by January 2020, before slipping to 82,000 bpd in June, according to OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report.
Libya had planned to increase production to 2.1 million bpd by 2024, but those plans are now in jeopardy due to recent skirmishes that have embroiled the country’s oil facilities and wealth into a pawn in the skirmish between General Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which controls the oil, and the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord, which controls the oil revenues.
“We now estimate production will decline to 650,000 b/d in 2022, in the absence of an immediate restart of oil production and because of the state’s failure to provide the requested budgets to address the many challenges resulting from the blockade," Libya’s National Oil Corporation said on its website on Tuesday, adding that some of the damage it has suffered “is permanent and can never be repaired.”
Oil reservoirs that are shutdown suddenly, according to NOC, “undergo mechanical, structural, chemical and even microbiological changes. These changes can result in early water production and death of oil wells.” It can also cause bacteria to grow, which can actually change the characteristics of the oil.
NOC is calling for an immediate end to the blockade.
A group of tribes and paramilitary groups occupied Libya’s oil export terminals in mid-January as LNA’s Haftar launched an offensive against the UN-recognized government pledging that the country would soon have a single government. Negotiations for lifting the blockade are ongoing. The value of the lost production from the blockade has so far exceeded $6 billion so far, NOC has said.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.