The Libyan oil industry continues its recovery after an eight-month long conflict that ousted former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and brought oil production, the country's main source of income to almost total halt, it is now pumping “more than a million” barrels a day.
The chairman of the state-run National Oil Corporation, Nuri Berruien told the press during a meeting in Cairo of the Organisation of Arab Petrol Exporting Countries, OAPEC, that Libya will resume normal oil production by the middle of next year.
Libya had been pumping about 1.6 million barrels a day in January, before the uprising that began in February and that eventually overthrew the Gaddafi regime after 42 years of rule.
Two weeks ago, the country's oil minister, Rahman Ben Yezza said in Vienna where he was attending a meeting of the Organisation of Petrol Experting Countries, OPEC, that Libya, which is a member of both OPEC and OAPEC, was making efforts to raise its production to two million barrels a day in three-to-five years’ time.
In Cairo, Ben Yezza confirmed that there’s a “gentleman’s agreement” within OPEC to accommodate the return of Libyan oil.
At its December 14 meeting, OPEC set a new production ceiling for the first time in three years. The agreement targets the group’s official output to 30 million barrels a day. The agreement underscores how some members are concerned oil at about $100 a barrel may sap demand amid signs Europe’s debt crisis is driving the world toward a recession, according to Bloomberg
Libya's recovery in its production rate to more than 1 million barrels a day means that its output now exceeds that of two other fellow OPEC members, Ecuador and Qatar.
According to data from Poten & Partners Inc., at least four tankers had been booked in the past few days to load 420,000 metric tons of crude oil in Libya, with the ships chartered to pick up the equivalent of about 3.1 million barrels, compared with about 2.7 million barrels booked to load on four vessels the previous week.
Meanwhile, some Arab oil ministers are reportedly scheduled to attend a gathering of Gulf Cooperation Council officials Thursday in Abu Dhabi.