News / Africa

Minister: Libyan Oil Back in Days - Politics Permitting

Libya's Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi speaks in Tripoli, July 31, 2013.
Libya's Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi speaks in Tripoli, July 31, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Libya's oil exports could return to full capacity in days once strikes in the restive east end, its oil minister said on Wednesday
 
But demands for more local power from some protesters are tied to the political transition and may take time to resolve, Abdelbari Arusi added.
 
To keep international oil companies on board through the turmoil, Arusi said Libya was already working on improving terms for existing investors and easing terms in new license rounds.
 
“We're expecting to solve this issue any time and by solving this issue we can have oil production back to 1.6 million barrels per day,” he told a conference. “Our problem in Libya now is a political problem, not a technical problem.”
 
A mix of striking workers, militias and political activists have blocked Libya's oilfields and ports for more than two months resulting, according to Arusi, in over $5 billion of lost revenues for the OPEC member whose budget relies on oil exports.
 
Libya took its first steps towards resuming output from the west in mid-September after reaching a deal with locals.
 
Arusi said a parliamentary committee was negotiating with groups in the east and only a small number of protesters were still holding out. Because it is the ports not the fields that are blocked in the east, he added, production could return to capacity in three to four days once disputes are settled.
 
Talks to reopen the major oil export terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf in the east have taken time because while some protesters are simply demanding better benefits, more local investment and more jobs, others have linked their demands to political wrangling over the future shape of Libya.
 
Protesters in the east want a federal Libya with greater powers and the headquarters of the National Oil Company (NOC) transferred to Benghazi, the capital of the east and birthplace of the 2011 revolution that removed Muammar Gaddafi from power.
 
Parliament is due to write a new constitution for the new Libya but different groups are pushing their own agendas. The government lacks the military means to crush armed protesters and in any case, Arusi said it was reluctant to use force as it sought to build a new democracy.
 
“Some in Ajdabiya, Brega and Ras Lanuf are asking to form a federal system and if you like that then you have to put it in the constitution,” Arusi said. “We are working on the constitution.”
 
Output inching up

Growing instability since 2011 coupled with disruptions and, in some cases, disappointing finds have prompted some majors including ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell to freeze activities and smaller firms like Marathon are selling.
 
Arusi said Libya was reviewing the terms for existing foreign investors in its energy sector as well as drawing up more attractive terms for its next licensing round, which he said should be launched in the first half of next year.
 
A new petroleum law would also be ready next year, he added.
 
“We're forming a committee to review the previous agreements and come up with new agreements to ease our terms and conditions and come up with something good for both parties,” Arusi said.
 
Libya's crude oil output has risen to near 700,000 bpd since the western fields reopened last month, Arusi said.
 
The worst disruption since the 2011 war had cut output to below 200,000 bpd last month from 1.4 million bpd before.
 
Arusi said there were “positive signs” that the port of Hariga in the far east would re-open soon and oil officials have said there had been progress in talks with local councils there.
 
In a sign that disruptions could pop up in different parts of the country, however, protesters in the west have shut a gas pumping station supplying a facility jointly run with Italy's ENI and reducing exports to Italy.
 
Import flows into Italy on Tuesday were around 8.8 million cubic meters compared to shipper requests for 12.7 mcm, according to data from gas grid operator Snam.
 
Arusi confirmed that gas flows from the Wafa field, the largest gas field in western Libya that feeds the Mellitah complex south of Tripoli, had been shut for two days and exports to Italy had been halved.
 
“We have substituted gas from the offshore field of Bahr al-Salam and reduced our gas to Italy to compensate what we lost from the Wafa field,” he said, adding that the priority was to ensure enough domestic gas supplies before exporting.
 
He expected gas supplies to be restored “today or tomorrow.”

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid