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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid