MILAN, Italy, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Italian energy company Eni, says patience is needed in a Libyan oil sector struggling to return to its pre-civil war production level.
Scaroni told CNBC he expected Libya would eventually recover to become a rival to neighboring oil countries like Kuwait, which was producing around 2.8 million barrels per day last year.
Libya, before its 2011 civil war, was producing, on average, 1.6 million barrels per day but now has a production level of about 700,000.
The International Energy Agency said last week a poor security situation is partly to blame for the lower level now.
Scaroni said in an interview published Friday he wasn't concerned about the security situation in Libya. The chief executive officer said the goal of NATO's intervention in 2011 was to "destroy every Libyan institution" and it would take time for the country to recover fully.
"In total, the situation is pretty calm," he said. "Imagine any other country in a similar situation."
Eni was one of the first companies to return to Libya as the civil war drew to a close in 2011.