Libya oil production at 680,000 barrels per day

Libyan oil production has reached 680,000 barrels per day (bpd), a Libyan oil source said on Thursday, more than a third higher than earlier this month, as the OPEC member seeks to revive its oil industry.

Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) on Monday ended force majeure on the last facilities closed by an eight-month blockade of oil exports by eastern forces.

The blockade in January cut Libyan oil production to around 100,000 bpd from 1.2 million bpd.

The current output level marks a jump from around 500,000 bpd earlier this month.

The NOC said last week it expected oil production to rise to 1 million bpd in a few weeks’ time.

On Thursday, Repsol’s CEO said production at the Sharara oil field, Libya’s largest, is about 160,000 bpd, and expected to rise gradually to 300,000 bpd.

Libya’s growing output has weighed on prices as demand concerns are increased by government restrictions to contain a second wave of the new coronavirus.

Brent and US WTI crude futures were both down more than 5 percent on Thursday, extending another 5 percent loss the previous day.

Higher Libyan output and the weak demand outlook are expected to dominate talks at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies — a group known as OPEC+ — on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

OPEC+ is limiting production by 7.7 million bpd, but is expected to shave around 2 million bpd from the supply curbs from January.

First published on Arab News

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France Seeks to Increase its Presence in Libya

French oil company Total has strengthened its positions in Libya’s energy market after the acquisition of a 16,33 percent share in the major Waha oilfield. The cost of the deal is estimated at $450 million. A week after the agreement was signed, the French Ambassador to Libya Brigitte Curmi has met Fayez Al-Sirraj, Head of the Government of National Accord (GNA). During the meeting, which was attended by representatives of Total and the GNA-owned National Oil Corporation, the French side announced its intention to increase the investments into the Libyan energy sector due to the rising oil production and a reliable political course taken by Sirraj. In turn, the Head of GNA welcomed the partnership between Total and the National Oil Corporation, pledging to support the French company.

“This acquisition is in line with Total’s strategy to reinforce its portfolio with high quality and low-technical cost assets whilst bolstering our historic strength in the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne.

In the current circumstances, both sides pursue political goals aside of the economic meaning of the deal. Sirraj is interested in convincing France to choose GNA as its exclusive partner and to cancel co-operation with the so-called eastern-based government. In turn, Paris seeks to preserve the balance between the two rival Libyan powers who have split the oil production between them. The contract with GNA should not harm the relations with Tobruk, as the latter controls El-Sider port terminal necessary for exporting oil from Waha field to the global market.

With this kind of neutrality, the French authorities are able to simultaneously exert influence on GNA and the Eastern government, pursuing its economic interests in the Libyan oil market and in Northern Africa as a whole.