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.
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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid