Head of Libyan oil company honored in London

Despite lingering challenges, Libyan oil production is more than double the average from 2016.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Nov. 22, 2017 at 6:45 AM
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Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Upon receiving accolades from a British energy publication, the head of Libya's oil company said progress over the last 12 months has been extraordinary.

Petroleum Economist at its annual gala in London named Mustafa Sanalla, the head of Libya's National Oil Corp., chief executive officer of the year. The publication credited Sanalla with moving Libyan oil production to around 1 million barrels per day in deeply divided and sometimes violent country.

"This award belongs to my colleagues, the extraordinary employees of NOC and its affiliate companies, who risk so much everyday knowing that the future of our nation lies in their hands," he said in his reception address.

Libya is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and is exempt from an effort to balance an oversupplied global market using production cuts so oil revenue can support national security efforts. Secondary sources reporting to OPEC economists put October production at 962,000 barrels per day, an increase of 42,300 barrels from the previous month. October's level was more than double the average for 2016.

An October report from Wood Mackenzie found that damage from militant attacks and other consequences of war at the ports of As Sidrah and Ras Lanuf will constrain Libyan oil production at 1.25 million bpd, which the state oil company set as a year-end target. Wood Mackenzie said even keeping production at 1 million bpd would be considered a success, but enough of a win to keep Libya from spiraling deeper into crisis.

Nevertheless, Elliot Thomas, the managing director at the British publication, said Sanalla should be recognized for his contribution to "Libya's economic survival."

Ghassan Salamé, the U.N. special envoy for Libya, told members of the Security Council last week that the situation in Libya has not improved much since the end of Moammar Gadhafi's regime in 2011, however. The envoy testified that, at one point, Libya was one of the top humanitarian donors to Africa, but can now barely take care of its own needs.

"It is outrageous that a country which stands upon such vast wealth has so many suffering," he said.

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