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Libya's oil industry to reach pre-war levels

04-07-2012 10:11 BJT

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Libya says its oil production will reach pre-war levels in the coming months, but uncertainty over past contracts may cast a shadow on the industry's potential.

Many oil and gas refineries across the country which stopped running during the civil war that ended Muammar Gaddafi's four-decade rule, have resumed operations after the war ended last October. One is the Zawiya oil and gas refinery.

Rebels fighting against Gaddafi's forces seized control over the key town in August 2011. Losing the refinery, some 50 km west of Tripoli, which supplied fuel to the capital, was a huge blow to Gaddafi. A few days later the rebels toppled Gaddafi and seized the capital.

The refinery was reopened in October and gradually resumed operations, hitting pre-war levels in November.

Abdulhafed Daw, refining supervisor and operating manager, said, "On October 2, we resumed work in the first unit of the refinery until October 30 when we started operating the second unit which produced up to 80 percent of past production. On November 20, we managed to restore 100 percent and returned to previous levels."

Libya, formerly Africa's third-largest oil producer, yielded about 1.6 million barrels per day, before the civil war led to a virtual shutdown in supplies.

Deputy Oil Minister, Omar al-Shakmak said that Libya's oil output had already reached 80 percent of pre-war levels, aiming to exceed past production by this summer.

However, Shakmak admitted there were several obstacles which may hinder efforts to reach the target.

Omar al-Shakmak said, "There are some few issues, mainly the oil services companies still have not, you know, started their activity, full activity"

Uncertainty about oil and gas companies' contracts with Libya, soon to be scrutinized and potentially revised, will persist until new leaders take power after June elections, delaying the industry's return to normal.

The government said existing agreements with international oil companies must be examined before any new blocks or contracts can be offered.

Oil companies say they expect the new leaders to demand that certain deals be revised.

Experts say Libya lacks a solid legal framework for coping with the industry in the aftermath of the conflict. But some analysts say the forthcoming revisions may be relatively minor, and question whether existing contracts will be honoured.


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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