Libya's oil production hits 750,000 b/d en route to full recovery

Libya’s oil output has reached 750,000 b/d and is on track to reach prewar production of 1.6 million b/d by yearend 2012, according to the chairman of the state-owned National Oil Corp.

“We’re building up production, we’re doing fine,” said Nuri Berruien, who added that the country is on schedule for its yearend target of 800,000 b/d and its further target of 1.6 million b/d by yearend 2012.

Berruien’s remarks coincided with statements by executives of Eni SPA who said their company’s output of oil and gas in Libya has reached 200,000 boe/d.

“We are now at about 200,000 boe/d. Within a few weeks we have managed to almost return to pre-crisis levels,” said Eni Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni.

“We have resumed our activities (in Libya) in a very satisfactory way which is above our most optimistic expectations. Libya for us is back to being business as usual,” Scaroni said.

Claudio Descalzi, Eni head of exploration and production, said all of Eni’s oil and gas fields in Libya have resumed operations that were suspended earlier this year after the start of civil war.

Descalzi said Eni aims to return to pre-war levels of about 280,000 boe/d in Libya by the end of June 2012 and to increase its output to an average of 300,000 boe/d in 2013.

Meanwhile, the appointment of Abdulrahman Ben Yazza as Libya’s new oil minister has been widely welcomed as a step in the right direction for the country.

“He’s an excellent oil man,” said Berruien, adding that Ben Yazza is a first-class professional. “The most important (thing) is that he’s from the oil patch. It is very important. It is good to work with people who speak your tongue.”

Scaroni brushed off media speculation that Ben Yazza, as former head of a joint venture between Eni and Libya’s NOC would favor the Italians. Scaroni said, “When one becomes a minister, one works for his own country and forgets all that has been before.”

Another source said that, “Ben Yazza is an old guy, well known and well liked. He knows Eni very well but that doesn’t mean he will be pro-Eni…he will be pro-Libyan.”

In addition to Eni, Ben Yazza worked at Libya's Waha Oil Co. and served in a number of roles at state-owned NOC, culminating in a seat on the corporation’s management committee.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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