Libya approaching pre-civil war oil production capacity

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An oil refinery in Libya guarded by former rebels. Photo - Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

The Libyan national oil company chief has claimed production has approached a level close to that seen before NATO-led intervention ground it to a halt. The North African nation’s oil production fell to 3% of its usual level last year with output reaching only 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) rather than 1.6 million bpd.

Nuri Berruien, chairman of Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp., confirmed to Bloomberg production was “almost” at the 1.6 million bpd mark.

Bloomberg reported that the Ras Lanuf oil refinery is now producing 220,000 bpd and is close to full operations.

The speed of recovery has surprised analysts who estimated that it would take several years for Libya’s oil sector to recover.

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, with some estimates suggesting about 46 billion barrels.

“Libya has the potential to become an energy or petrochemicals hub but it was deprived for 40 years of reaching its potential. The oil sector has been very scattered since its establishment – many crudes, many companies,” Ahmed Shawki, head of marketing at NOC, said.

Libya’s oil minister Abdul Rahman Ben Yezza had said in December that the country is seeking to raise its production to 2 million barrels a day in three-to-five years’ time.

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