10 April 015, News Wires – Libyan state firm Arabian Gulf Oil Company, AGOCO, is producing 317,000 barrels per day (bpd), the highest level in the last two years, the company’s spokesman has said.
Libya now produces around 600,000 barrels of crude per day, less than half the 1.6 million bpd it produced before the fall of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Several oil ports and major fields have been closed by fighting but the two biggest ports, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider with a combined capacity of 600,000 bpd, may open soon, officials say.
Gas production was over 2 billion cubic feet per day last week. Crude revenues are at the heart of a battle for control of the North African OPEC producer that has pitted the two rival governments against each other in a growing conflict.
Libya’s internationally recognised Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said on Sunday his government would run its own oil sales and deposit revenues abroad in a bid to divert proceeds away from a rival self-declared administration in Tripoli.
But the Tripoli-based National Oil Company (NOC) still handles all oil sales and revenues, and AGOCO – although located in eastern Libya – is an NOC subsidiary. NOC has tried to stay out of the conflict between the rival governments.
Ports and oilfields are also the favourite target of both militants loyal to the Islamic State group and local protesters with their own specific demands. A source from the Brega oil point near Benghazi said on Monday that the port and Sirte Oil Company, located in the port area, have been closed by protesters over the past week.
“The port and Sirte company have been shut down since a week ago as all the promises made by the officials were not kept” one protester told Reuters. Brega port is used mainly for crude shipments to the refinery in Zawiya, near Tripoli in the western part of the country.