By Salma El Wardany
Libya, which has been stepping up efforts to boost oil output, will maintain its current production level until the end of next year to stay in line with OPEC’s agreement to trim global supplies.
The North African country will keep crude production stable at about 1 million barrels a day, in accordance with the Nov. 30 agreement by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to extend output curbs until the end of 2018 to stem a glut, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The country is currently pumping 1 million barrels a day, the person said.
Libya, along with Nigeria, had been exempt from oil output cuts that started in January due to internal strife in both nations. Neither was given a country-specific limit for its crude production in last week’s agreement between OPEC and other producers, the person said. Instead, they were given a combined cap of 2.8 million barrels a day, the person said. Any increases in crude output will put pressure on OPEC and its allies in their effort to drain an oversupply, reduce inventories and prop up prices.
Output in Libya — where oil fields have endured sporadic shutdowns and disruptions due to protests, power blackouts and security issues — rose to about 1 million barrels a day this year, the highest level in four years. Iran and the United Arab Emirates were among OPEC nations that expressed concern about rising production in Libya and Nigeria.
Security, technical and financial challenges are hindering Libya’s National Oil Corp. in its drive to reach a previously set production target of 1.25 million barrels a day this year, its chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, said in October. Production at Libya’s biggest field, Sharara, is stable at 290,000 barrels a day, another person familiar with the situation said on Tuesday, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.