Libyan oil production up 2 percent

Jan. 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The Libyan Ministry of Oil said oil production has reached an average level of 581,657 barrels per day, a 2 percent increase from its previous estimate.

The government said the 581,657 barrels per day average was achieved during the week ending Jan. 18. It beats the previous week's average of 569,135 bpd, the Libya Herald reported Monday from Tripoli.

Before the civil war in 2011, Libya produced on average 1.6 million bpd and was one of the premier oil producers in North Africa. The country has flirted with that level since widespread fighting ended in late 2011 but recent production levels have suffered because of internal conflict.

Rebel groups in the east of the country, some of which helped topple the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, in November declared independence for the region known as Cyrenaica, which hosts some of Libya's key oil terminals.

Last week, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said he reserved the right to use force against oil tankers trying to dock at ports under rebel control in eastern Libya.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its monthly market report for January the loss of an estimated 1 million bpd of Libyan crude was having a strong influence on global oil prices. In terms of production, OPEC said Libya produced 261,000 bpd in December, the last full month for which the cartel has data.

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