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Libya’s Oil Revenues Dip In February As Battle Over Oil Wealth Continues

Libya’s oil revenues fell in February to $1.26 billion, according to its National Oil Company, as repeated oilfield closures continue to weigh on the troubled African nation.

The oil revenues were $330 million less than January levels, while overall oil production had actually increased by 23,000 bpd in February, according to OPEC’s March Monthly Oil Market Report. Oil production in Libya fell in January to 883,000 bpd from 949,000 bpd in December 2018, rising to 906,000 bpd in February. Libya’s oil production averaged 811,000 bpd in 2017 and 952,000 bpd in 2018. March production is expected to be lifted further.

Libya continues to suffer from oilfield and port closures both due to inclimate weather and internal strife over who will control its great oil wealth that resulted in a force majeure over the last few months.

Chairman of Libya’s NOC, Mustafa Sanalla, last month reiterated its plans to boost production to 2.1 million bpd by 2021 if—and that’s a pretty big if—it is able to improve its security situation.

To this end, BP said last October that it and Eni would be returning to Libya for a bit of risky business with exploratory drilling sometime during Q1 2019. Sanalla confirmed that BP was still interested in exploring oil in western Libya near its border with Algeria, and stressed that there were no security concerns in this area. Other foreign oil companies that may disregard the substantial security risks include Total SA, Repsol SA, and OMV AG, Sanalla told Bloomberg a couple weeks ago.

Libya’s NOC is currently developing a new security plan to safeguard production from its prolific Sharara oilfield that has been plagued with unrest for years. Its output should be more than 300,000 bpd.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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