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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Exclusive: Libya expects exemption from Opec production cuts

The head of the country's national oil company said he fully expected the exporters' group to continue making exemptions for Libya

Mustafa Sanalla, who heads Libyan National Oil Corporation, said the country was targetting reaching 2 million bpd capacity by 2022. Satish Kumar/ The National
Mustafa Sanalla, who heads Libyan National Oil Corporation, said the country was targetting reaching 2 million bpd capacity by 2022. Satish Kumar/ The National

Libya hopes to receive an exemption from possible production curbs by Opec and allies, as it works to raise its own output capacity levels to two million barrels per day by 2022, the head of the country’s state producer said.

"Opec and non-Opec [producers] for the last two years understood very well the Libyan situation and they gave us full support to keep our production," Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation told The National in an interview. "We are far, far from our quota in production and due to the uncertainty of the country, the security threat, due to under-investment, we have our own problems and they are supporting the NOC over the last two years.”

The support is expected to continue into next year, as Opec and allies are set to meet in Vienna in early December to discuss possible cuts to bolster prices, which plunged 25 per cent to $65 per barrel for Brent on Wednesday after rallying around $80 for much of the summer. At its latest joint ministerial monitoring committee meeting held in the UAE capital, Opec said it anticipated higher supply growth next year and would look to revise its current strategy of boosting production.

Earlier in 2016 the exporters' group and allies undertook a pact to curb production to the tune of 1.8 million bpd through 2017, with exemptions granted to Libya, Nigeria as well as Iran, which had seen significant outages in output due to conflict and sanctions.

Mr Sanalla said raising output was key for Libya to continue to be on target and earn revenues.

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"Libya’s situation is difficult and to be frank with you, we have lost around 370,000 bpd two days ago," he said. "[We] always have the threat of security, [we] always have demonstrations and other problems, so our production is floating.”

"Also we have technical problems, so sometimes we lost 80-70,000 bpd sometimes 100,000 barrels [in] a day because of maintenance issues, less investment. Opec, I think has understood very well the situation,” he added.

Mr Sanalla declined to specify an ideal price environment for Libya’s oil industry to thrive but said the country needed to reduce volatility in the markets.

“It is very important at the moment. It’s [more] about the supply and demand,” he said.

Libya’s state-backed producer, received revenue from its hydrocarbons assets - including from the eastern provinces - of $1.66bn in September with total revenue for the first nine months of the year nearly at $17bn.