By Irina Slav
Delays in budget payments to the National Oil Corporation of Libya could threaten the country’s oil production, NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement.
“The entire sector is suffering from these problems because of delays in the finance ministry disbursing budgets to the corporation for this year,” the statement read.
Libya’s oil production averaged more than 1 million bpd in January, for the first time topping the million-bpd-mark for a full month since July 2013, data provider Genscape estimated earlier this month.
Last month Libya produced 1.083 million bpd of crude oil, and 1.133 million of total liquids, Genscape said, adding that its oil production monitoring showed that oil fields in Libya appeared to operate relatively consistently in January, without steep, significant dips below the average production levels due to weather or pipeline attacks.
While this is still well below the 1.6 million bpd the North African country produced before the civil war that toppled Gadaffi, it is substantially more than the 200,000 bpd it pumped in 2016.
Production outages are still plaguing the industry as the political situation in the country remains highly volatile with various militant factions warring amongst themselves and sabotaging oil infrastructure as a means of making a political point.
These are unlikely to cease anytime soon, according to BMI Research, which recently warned that Nigeria and Libya are at a high risk of oil industry disruption because of upcoming elections.
The research firm’s analysts believe the Libyan elections, tentatively planned for this year, could be delayed until 2019, so the risk of disruptions to oil production will be particularly heightened towards the end of 2018, as “militant factions across the country will need to align support with their favoured presidential candidate and will likely turn to disrupting oil infrastructure to gain leverage,” the analysts told Rigzone.
Irina Slav is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.