Thursday, March 3, 2011

Libyan oil production cut in half: minister

Oil production in Libya has been cut in half due to nationwide civil unrest, according to Shukri Ghanem, chairman of  Libya's National Oil Corporation.

"Libya's oil production has been halved as foreign workers have left because they don't feel safe" he told Agence France Presse. "Libyan workers also have left but most of the foreign workers are technicians, and this has led to a reduction in production."

Ghanem, who also serves as the de facto oil minister, did not provide any data to back up his claims. However, he emphasized that "none of the oil installations were damaged" and that "we continue to produce and export" oil.

Most foreign oil companies, including Total (NYSE: TOT) of France, have wither shut down their operations in Libya or suspended them.

"Our priority now is providing oil domestically: providing power plants with gas and fuel and crude for refineries so that normal life can continue in Libya," he said.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Libya’s normal production (prior to the protests) is about 1.6 million barrels per day, the vast majority of which is exported to Europe.
The eastern part of Libya (which is now in the hands of opposition forces) is believed to account for about two-thirds of the country’s oil production.

The IEA has already stated that half of Libya’s usual crude output is not going to the international market.
"Based on available information, it would appear that between 850,000 to 1 million barrels per day out of a total of 1.6-million barrels per day of Libyan oil production is currently shut-in," IEA said in a statement.
A rebel holds a gun on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, on the road leading to Brega
(Photo: Reuters)
A rebel holds a gun on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, on the road leading to Brega
This article is copyrighted by International Business Times, the business news leader

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