Repsol YPF boosts Libya's oil production to 500,000 b/d

Libya’s oil output has reached 500,000 b/d after Repsol YPF SA began producing 60,000 b/d of oil from its El Sharara field, according to interim Oil Minister Ali Tarhouni. “As of an hour ago we are up to 500,000 b/d with the Sharara field resuming operation,” Tarhouni told a news conference in Benghazi after the Spanish firm resumed work at its field on Block NC115.

Prior to the outbreak of civil war, Libya produced 1.65 million b/d of crude oil, according to the US Energy Administration. Repsol YPF produced 360,000 b/d of that total from its two main blocks, NC-115 and NC-186.

Analyst Samuel Ciszuk of IHS Global Insight said that Libya's recovery is so far “beating many forecasts” and is achieving results that should make the country’s ruling National Transitional Council proud.

The current output increase certainly puts Libya well ahead of estimates by the International Energy Agency that earlier said the North African country would produce no more than 400,000 b/d by yearend.

The International Monetary Fund likewise said that the end of the conflict in Libya can set the stage for an economic rebound, “although rehabilitation of the hydrocarbon complex may take considerable time.”

However, Ciszuk also sounded a cautionary note against the idea of a continued rapid recovery, saying, “The worst surprises might still be to come as returning some of Libya's oldest and largest fields to full production after the emergency shutdowns might not be straightforward.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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