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Libyan oil production moves higher for Hess Corp.

Total production from OPEC-member Libya improved more than 400 percent compared with the same period last year.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Libyan production for U.S. energy company Hess Corp. increased exponentially from first quarter 2017. Production for Libya in general all but collapsed at the height of civil war. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Libyan production for U.S. energy company Hess Corp. increased exponentially from first quarter 2017. Production for Libya in general all but collapsed at the height of civil war. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

April 25 (UPI) -- Production from Libyan assets during the first quarter of the year expanded exponentially from last year's levels, U.S. energy company Hess Corp. said.

Hess reported net production from its assets outside Libya was around 233,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down from the 307,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the same period last year. The downturn was in part because of divestments last year and downtime at a facility in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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"Libya net production was 22,000 boe per day in the first quarter of 2018, compared to 4,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the prior-year quarter," the company stated Wednesday.

Fourth quarter production from Libya for Hess was around 18,000 barrels per day, signaling Libya may be recovering after years of civil conflict. Libya, nevertheless, continues to cope with production challenges. A fire was reported this week on a pipeline connected to one of the country's largest oil fields.

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Economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Libya is a member, reported the country produced around 968,000 barrels of oil per day last month, down from February's 1 million barrels per day. Production at the height of the conflict had nearly ground to a halt.

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Libya fractured along multilateral lines in the wake of civil war in 2011 that culminated with the death of long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi. After general elections in 2014, the country was split with two governments vying for control.

U.N. Special Envoy to Libya Martin Kobler said last year that Libyan oil production was on a clear road to recovery and the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State, or Daesh, was a shadow of its former self. General elections are scheduled for this year, though Human Rights Watch said free and fair elections are unlikely in the current environment.

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Hess Corp. reported a net loss of $106 million during the first quarter, an improvement over the $324 million loss for the same period last year. Total oil and gas production, however, exceeded the company's guidance.

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