Libya Oil Output Rebounds With Power Returning at Fields

  • Crude production picks back up to 700,000 barrels a day
  • Libya’s western region hit by total blackout on Jan. 14

Libya’s oil production rebounded to about 700,000 barrels a day after dipping temporarily due to power outages that disrupted operations at some of the OPEC member’s fields.

Electricity is returning gradually to fields in western Libya following a blackout on Jan. 14, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified for lack of authorization to speak to news media. Oil output dropped to 655,000 barrels a day this week as a result of the outages, and production should increase further as electricity is restored at more fields, the person said.

The blackout occurred after an unspecified group of people closed the valve of a natural gas pipeline that feeds the Zawiya power station in the western region, and electricity was restored later in some areas, the state-run Lana news agency reported on Jan. 15. Other factors contributed to the outages, including attacks on power stations, the national utility GECOL said in a Jan. 15 statement.

Libya, with Africa’s largest crude reserves, is trying to revive its oil production in spite of political turmoil and conflict among armed forces competing to control the nation’s energy assets. It reopened two of its biggest fields last month, as well as a pair of oil terminals that had been closed for two years. Libya is still pumping far less than the 1.6 million barrels a day it produced before a 2011 uprising that set off years of instability.
 
National Oil Co. will take legal action against those behind the closing of the gas pipeline to the Zawiya power plant, according to a statement posted Tuesday on its website. 

Libya plans to almost double output this year. Additional increases in its production will put pressure on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major suppliers that agreed to pump less crude starting this month in a joint effort to end a glut. OPEC exempted Libya from cutting as the nation tries to restore its crude production and exports.

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