Last updated: 10 September, 2014

Libya predicts rise in oil production despite chaos

Libya said Wednesday it expects oil production to reach 1.5 million barrels per day by year-end, with output quadrupled since the beginning of the summer despite ongoing chaos in the country.

“We will continue advancing,” National Oil Co spokesman Mohamed al-Hrari said.

Production had reached 810,000 bpd by Wednesday, compared with 550,000 at the end of August and 200,000 at the beginning of the summer, he said.

The next target is one million bpd by the end of September.

Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, speaking in Abu Dhabi, confirmed the trend, saying the one million barrel figure would be reached in October, without giving a precise date.

Libya’s economy took a heavy hit after rebels blockaded export terminals in July 2013, forcing a reduction in output and slashing all-important oil revenues.

The seizure of four terminals in pursuit of a campaign for restored autonomy for the eastern Cyrenaica region slashed output from 1.5 million bpd to just 200,000.

Under a deal with the government, the rebels returned control of two terminals in April and the remaining two in July.

Since then, output and exports have soared, despite unrest rocking a country that never regained stability following the 2011 ouster of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The internationally recognised government, now operating from the eastern city of Tobruk, has lost control of the capital Tripoli and second city Benghazi to militias. Among the latter are Islamists who reject the outcome of elections they lost in June and who have formed a rival government.