TRIPOLI, Libya, May 21 (UPI) -- Libyan oil production has approached a level close to that seen before NATO-led operations ground it to a halt, an official said.
Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels of oil per day before the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi's regime began in early 2011. Production had ground to a halt, but began increasing as Gadhafi's regime began to collapse under the dual strains of civil war and a NATO-led intervention launched in order to protect civilians from attacks by government forces.
Nuri Berruien, chairman of Libya's sate-run National Oil Corp., confirmed to Bloomberg News that production was "almost" at the 1.6 million bpd mark.
The Ras Lanuf oil refinery, which Bloomberg reports can produce 220,000 bpd, is close to full operations, he added.
The announcement follows the death of former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockberbie, Scotland. There were 270 killed in the attack.
U.S. lawmakers, following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, investigated whether Megrahi's release was linked to a BP deal to explore for oil in Libya. British, Scottish and BP officials deny charges Megrahi's release was related to oil
Megrahi died of cancer in Tripoli.