Libya’s Deputy Oil Minister, Omar Shakmak has said that he expects the country’s oil production to return to its pre-war levels by October. Although not far off, this date is still later than the previously forecast figure. The delay has been blamed on interruptions and the reluctance of some oil companies to return to the country.
Shakmak was quoted by Reuters as saying, “If everything goes as planned and there are no more interruptions, I think within three months time from now … we hope we will achieve the 1.6 million bpd … Our plan was for by the end of July, the second quarter, but there were a lot of reasons – one of them the interruptions … and also the delay of the support from oil technical services contractors. They are not back 100 percent.”
Libya’s current output is believed to be approximately 1.56 million bpd.
The North African country’s oil production came to an almost complete standstill during the conflict that saw a popular uprising overthrow the dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The post-war recovery was hampered by protests in the run up to the country’s first democratic elections in decades, which saw the export facilities brought to a standstill.
Despite a sluggish post-war start, Libya has plans for future growth of up to 2 million bpd by the end of 2015 and expansion of the country’s refining capabilities. According to Shakmak, “A plan is being discussed for the development of the refinery industry in Libya, both upgrading the existing refineries and to have new refineries … They will study where we will have these two refineries – maybe in the east, in the tobruk area and Derna and the other one in the south.”
The importance of improved infrastructure to the future success of the Libyan oil industry was highlighted by Kurt Bock, Chief Executive of BASF who said the following of the company’s operations in the country: “Production has gone up a little bit. We are almost at where we were before the Libyan crisis started in 2011. The bottleneck actually is the export infrastructure dependent on publicly available infrastructure.”
Edited from various sources by David Bizley