Libya’s oil industry blossoming as output continues to hit new heights

A general view shows a detail of the Zawiya Oil Refinery, some 40 kms west of Tripoli. MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

After a series of setbacks and missteps, Libya is reportedly on track to continue its increased oil production in 2017, with output now sitting at the highest levels seen since 2014, Frobes reported.

According to media reports, the North African nation is currently producing 715,000 barrles per day and is expected to produce around 1.3 million barrels of oil per day by the end of 2017 with the goal of increasing that amount by 300,000 barrels per day by 2022.

The help bolster this effort, Libya is seeking out necessary foreign partnerships for energy development after a three year lockout.

“We intend in the coming months to lift our self-imposed moratorium since 2011 on foreign investment in new projects to achieve the best national interest for the Libyan oil sector and for Libya as a state,” Mustafa Sanalla, the chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corp.said.

Home to Africa’s largest oil reserves, Libya has struggled to return production to levels seen before the 2011 Arab Spring and ensuing civil war caused the collapse of the Gaddafi government. Up until then, the north African nation produced around 1.6 million barrels of oil per day, but a steady stream of political and security unrest has led to a sharp decline in output in recent years, wrote Forbes.

This situation has been further exacerbated by political infighting and disputes regarding authority over production regions. Libya’s goal of increased production could put it at odds with fellow OPEC members, who reportedly agreed to limit production to address a global supply glut that has weighed heavily on prices and revenue for member states, according to Forbes.

Like neighboring Algeria, Libya relies heavily on hydrocarbon revenue to fund the state, making any loss – estimated at millions of dollars lost per day – especially detrimental.

“Every single major oil-export route is now open, although some are operating at significantly reduced levels due to damage suffered in conflicts,” Sanalla told an industry conference in London, according to the text of his speech. “For the moment the oil is flowing. This can be an important foundation of stability in Libya, if we build on it.”

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