As the government works to end protests at fields and ports that have cut shipments for months, Libya’s oil production has stabilized at around 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) over the last month, according to the National Oil Corp. (NOC).
Striking workers, militias and political protests caused a decline in the OPEC member’s oil output to as low as 200,000 bpd, but Libya was able to resume production from some fields in the west in mid-September after reaching a deal with some of the protesters.
“The government is still resolving the problem to reach normal production of 1.6 million bpd by the end of the year. We have the technical capacity; it is a problem of security,” NOC board member Mustafa Sanalla told Reuters on the sidelines of a North Africa oil conference in Tunisia.
That instability was driven home earlier this month when armed militiamen briefly kidnapped Prime Minister Ali Zeidan for several hours before releasing him unharmed.
Libya’s turmoil has added to the jitters of foreign oil companies already skittish about the political and investment outlook in North Africa.
According to Reuters, at least seven companies, most of them based in the United States, have left projects or sold stakes in Libya, Algeria and Egypt in the past 18 months. But while analysts say North Africa may be less attractive for U.S. majors, the region’s proximity still makes it appealing to European oil explorers.