Tripoli: Libya’s National Oil Corporation has ambitious plans to restore output to pre-2011 levels after years of violence and disruption, officials said.
Oil output is now less than a quarter of the 1.6 million barrels per day Libya pumped before Muammar Gadaffi fell in 2011, and the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli hopes to ramp it up swiftly with the backing of a new unity government.
Full recovery could take years because of shutdowns by disgruntled workers, political rivalry and attacks by Islamic State militants.
Militants hit the Al Ghani, Mabrouk and Dahra fields in the Sirte basin over a year ago, forcing the NOC to declare force-majeure on 11 fields, and there have been further attacks since then.
An NOC official in Tripoli said at least 200,000 bpd of capacity had been damaged in attacks on oil fields in the western Sirte basin, Libya’s most prolific.
It may take the NOC until late 2017 or 2018 to bring those fields back to full capacity, the official said, if it can afford the repairs.
The first phase of a three-stage recovery plan can be implemented within three months, a second NOC official in Tripoli said, allowing fields like El Sharara and Elephant, with a combined capacity of around 430,000 bpd, to come back on stream.
But other fields, including those that have been directly attacked and others that feed via pipeline to Libya’s largest export terminals at Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, may take longer to bring back online, he added.
Phase two covers six to eight months down the line while the final phase covers fields that will take between eight months and several years to reopen.
Infrastructure damage at the ports could take years to repair and will delay the restart of the fields feeding to them. Another big factor is the cost of the repairs.
“All those plans depend on security. If proper and robust security at the oil facilities is not in place, then our plans will be in jeopardy,” the second official said.
A UN-backed unity government’s move to Tripoli last month raised hopes that Libya could restart idled fields and reopen export terminals, and the NOC in Tripoli says it could quickly double production to over 700,000 bpd, if political and security conditions stabilise.