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Libya oil firm says daily output tops 1m barrels

By AFP - Nov 07,2020 - Last updated at Nov 07,2020

TRIPOLI — Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Saturday production had punched above one million barrels per day, nearly two weeks after it lifted the war-torn country's last remaining force majeure.

But the firm also warned financial difficulties could yet trigger a renewed slide in output.

The NOC said in a statement it had "managed to raise production rates to 1,036,035 barrels a day", after lifting force majeure at the Al-Feel oilfield on October 26.

Force majeure refers to external unforeseen elements that prevent a party from fulfilling a contract.

It had been invoked on multiple facilities by NOC, due to a months long-blockade of oilfields and ports by forces loyal to eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar, imposed to correct what his camp called an unfair distribution of oil revenues.

The country, which sits atop Africa's largest proven crude oil reserves, has been torn between forces loyal to Haftar and a UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

But the two sides signed a UN-brokered "permanent ceasefire" on October 23, and NOC announced the same day the reopening of two key export terminals, Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra, before likewise lifting force majeure at Al-Feel three days later.

However, in its statement on Saturday, NOC also said it faced "very big financial difficulties and a huge shortage of its budgets".

This has led to an accumulation of "debts on the sector's companies and significant delay for the salaries of its service companies", it added, pointing to a consequent "reluctance of some entities" to help restore production.

Therefore, NOC "may not be able to sustain the current production levels", the company added, warning that output may even cease "totally". 

Up to January, Libyan oil production stood at 1.25 million barrels per day, but then drastically declined as a result of Haftar's blockade.

Libya has been in chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime leader Moamer Qadhafi.


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