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Libya's oil sector may be opening to foreigners

Libya aims to produce more than 1 million barrels of oil per day by the end of the year.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Libya's oil sector may be opening to foreigners
Libya says it may be ready to start having conversations with foreign investors interested in its oil sector. Photo by Pepj/Shutterstock

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Libya plans to start opening the doors to foreign investors that may be ready to step back into the country's oil sector, a national oil company announced.

Mustafa Sanalla, the chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corp., said all major export arteries out of the country are open following at least three years of conflict-linked blockades. Speaking at a conference in London, the chairman said it was now time to open the country up for foreign investments.

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"We intend in the coming months to lift our self-imposed moratorium since 2011 on foreign investment in new projects to achieve the best national interest for the Libyan oil sector and for Libya as a state," he said.

Libya is exempt from a managed decline agreement organized by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that aims to restore balance to a market bogged down by oversupply. Olivier Jacob, managing director of Switzerland-based consultant Petromatrix, said last week that "nothing less than full compliance and no further rebound from Libya" and fellow exempt producer Nigeria would bring the desired impact for the broader market.

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Sanalla told delegates gathered at the Chatham House event in London that Libya aims to produce around 1.3 million barrels of oil per day by the end of this year and raise that to 1.6 million bpd by 2022.

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"For the moment the oil is flowing," he said.

Secondary industry sources told OPEC that Libya produced around 608,000 bpd in December, an increase of about 5 percent from the previous month.

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Libyan oil production has been fluid since the end of the era of Moammar Gadhafi. Production averaged 470,000 bpd in 2014 before slowing to a trickle.

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