Oil sector limping in post-war Libya

May 7, 2012 at 8:41 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, May 7 (UPI) -- Libyan oil production could suffer because of a general lack of security and a shortage of staff, authorities say.

Libyan oil production rebounded from a near-stoppage to more than 1 million barrels of oil per day in the months following the death of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in October.

Protesters, who say they are frustrated over pay and transparency, have blocked the entrance to the Arabian Gulf Oil Co. in Benghazi for more than a week.

AGOCO produces around 375,000 bpd and expects to reach the 425,000 bpd mark by mid-May. A company spokesman said ongoing demonstrations could hurt its recovery efforts, however.

Sector analysts, meanwhile, add that only a few of the expatriate staff have returned to Libya since the war ended last year. Those who've stayed abroad said they were concerned about the security situation, the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London reports.

In April, Austrian officials discovered the dead body of Shokri Ghanem, the former leader of Libya's state-run National Oil Corp., in the Danube River. Italian energy company Eni revealed in early April that it was being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged illegal payments to Libyan officials.

Anti-corruption watchdog group Global Witness described the Libyan energy sector as "murky."

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