Libya’s new Oil and Gas Minister, Dr. Abdulbari Alarusi [Al Arusi], has said the country could proceed with a new round of oil exploration and production agreements, but the priority for now is to maintain pre-war output levels.
Speaking to Reuters, he said:
"Our priority is to maintain the production at 1.5 million barrels per day .. We now have our target to increase production (by) 100,000 barrels per day for the coming few months, and then we're planning to drill more wells to increase our production rate."
Following last year's revolution, the North African country has increased output faster than analysts had expected, to around 1.5-1.6 million bpd. Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) aims to boost oil output to 1.72 million bpd by end-March but has warned of the risk that strikes could interrupt production. Al Arusi reiterated Libya's target of hitting 2 million bpd by 2015.
He said Libya would review its last round of Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements (EPSA) and "come up with the right solution for new negotiations in the future".
Until late 2004, Libya's unexplored territory had been off-limits for decades because of sanctions. In the last bidding round, after that land opened up and a scramble for acreage ensued, companies accepted some of the industry's tightest exploration and production deals.
"This EPSA IV (the last round) will be reviewed for the interest of the Libyans and for our partners. A lot of companies have complained about this EPSA IV; we don't like people to lose, because this is a win-win business," Arusi said.
Asked whether Libya is likely to see another licensing round within the next 15 months, he said, "Could be, I am not sure, could be; it depends on the situation here in Libya".