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Libya's oil output hits 1m barrels per day

EL-SHARARA, LIBYA - JUNE 5: A Chinese oil drilling team working for Repsol, begins the task of assembling a massive drilling rig in the middle of the desert on June 5, 2004 in El-Sharara, Libya. With the lifting of US sanctions earlier this year, American oil companies, eager to find other avenues for oil exploration have begun negotiating with the Libyan government to return to its vast oil fields. (Photo by Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images)
EL-SHARARA, LIBYA - JUNE 5: A Chinese oil drilling team working for Repsol, begins the task of assembling a massive drilling rig in the middle of the desert on June 5, 2004 in El-Sharara, Libya [Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images]

The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced on Saturday that the country's oil production has surpassed the one million barrels per day millstone for the first time since last January.

The NOC said in a statement published on its website that Libya managed to "raise oil production rates to 1,036,035 barrels per day," according to AFP.

The statement confirmed the body was "facing severe financial difficulties and an enormous budget deficit, which led to the accumulation of the companies' debts, and a delay in the payment of salaries."

The statement indicated that the NOC "may not be able to maintain the current levels of production, which can be reduced or suspended completely in light of the reluctance of some parties and obstruction of the corporation's efforts to increase production," without disclosing more details.

This comes amid a sharp decline in global oil prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has led to global lockdowns.

READ: A post-colonial united Libya looks increasingly like wishful thinking

Oil production plunged by around three-quarters since renegade General Khalifa Haftar launched a blockade, which cut off revenue for state institutions operating across the country.

On 12 August, the NOC revealed in a statement that the total losses incurred due to the shutdown of oil fields and ports reached $8.22 billion, after 208 days of forceful shutdown by Haftar's militia.

Libya's oil production before the shutdown reached 1.22 million barrels a day, according to identical data released by the NOC and the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), compared to less than 90,000 barrels per day during the blockade.

Libya has been witnessing an armed conflict for years, as Haftar's militias, supported by Arab and Western countries, contest the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA)'s legitimacy and authority in the oil-rich country.

Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and the ninth-biggest known reserves in the world.

READ: Libya says Russian mercenaries seen inside Sirte school

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