Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Libya’s oil production was running at above 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 2014, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday, but a commercial dispute with German oil firm Wintershall has shut in a further 160,000 bpd.

National output could reach between 1.1-million and 1.2-million bpd if political obstacles were removed, the NOC said.

"We are able [to] produce an average of 1.1-million to 1.2-million (bpd) over the rest of [2017], but for this to happen our oil must flow freely," NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said.

"A national effort is required," he said.

Sanalla said the dispute with BASF’s oil and gas company Wintershall was linked to a decree issued by the Presidency Council of the UN-backed government in Tripoli, giving it the power to negotiate investment agreements with foreign companies. The NOC opposes the decree, Resolution 270, which Sanalla said had been "drafted with the assistance of Wintershall to benefit Wintershall".

"This is a very serious matter," Sanalla said. "We would be producing almost 1-million (bpd) if it were not for Wintershall’s refusal to implement terms it agreed to in 2010."

Sanalla did not say what those terms were, but a Libyan oil industry source said the NOC was asking Wintershall to fulfil a commitment signed before the revolution in 2011 to switch to a production-sharing agreement, and that Wintershall was refusing to do so.


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