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Libyan Oil Output Can Reach 800,000 Barrels by End of 2011, Berruien Says

By Robert Tuttle and Nayla Razzouk
November 13, 2011 6:53 AM EST

Libya, the holder of Africa’s biggest oil reserves, will produce as much as 800,000 barrels of crude a day by the end of this year, the chairman of state-run National Oil Corp. said.

Libya’s oil industry will recover more quickly than the International Energy Agency predicted after suffering disruptions this year amid fighting that engulfed the country, Nuri Berruien said today in an interview in Doha, Qatar. The nation currently pumps 600,000 barrels a day, he said, adding in comments to reporters that authorities will not award licenses to energy companies during its political transition after the death of Muammar Qaddafi.

The IAE stated in a Nov. 10 report that Libya’s output capacity will reach an average of 800,000 barrels a day in the first quarter of 2012, then rise to 1.17 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter of next year. The Paris-based IEA doesn’t know “the facts on the ground,” Berruien said.

Libya produced 345,000 barrels a day in October, more than triple the 100,000 barrels it pumped in September, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country produced almost 1.6 million barrels a day in January, before protests against the against Qaddafi’s regime flared into armed rebellion.

Libya is using 140,000 barrels a day of the crude and exporting the rest, Berruien said.

Three Fields

The country’s Waha oil field is expected to start producing by the end of this year and will pump more than 400,000 barrels a day at full capacity, Berruien said. The Elephant field, known as “El Feel” in Arabic, started producing on Nov. 11 and is pumping at a rate of 40,000 barrels a day, he said. The offshore Bouri field will begin pumping any day, he said.

Ras Lanuf refinery may resume operations by the end of the year, he said. The facility is Libya’s biggest, with a processing capacity of 220,000 barrels of crude a day, according to Bloomberg data. Abdo A. Ahmed, the acting chief executive officer of Libyan Emirates Refining Co., the plant’s owner, said in an interview on Oct. 17 that Ras Lanuf might start operations as early as November.

Libya issued a tender to buy 3 million metric tons of gasoline for delivery next year, or about 60 to 70 percent of its needs, Berruien said. The nation has been in discussion with suppliers such as Vitol Group, Glencore International Plc, Trafigura Beheer BV and Exxon Mobil Corp. to buy the 95-octane fuel, he said.

Following the start of the Ras Lanuf refinery, the state won’t import diesel next year, he said. It is currently buying gasoline and diesel from the spot market while exporting some naphtha, Berruien, he said.

Libyan natural-gas exports through Eni SpA (ENI)’s Greenstream pipeline to Italy reached 300 million cubic feet a day and will jump to 900 milliob by the middle of next year, Berruien said. Shipments through the pipeline resumed last month. The country is resuming exploration for gas with companies that already hold licenses, he told reporters.

To contact the reporters on this story: Robert Tuttle in Doha at rtuttle@bloomberg.net; or Nayla Razzouk in Dubai at nrazzouk2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bruce Stanley at bstanley5@bloomberg.net

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