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Libya: French oil company discusses partnership to boost production

Workers at an oil port in Libya on 24 September 2020 [AFP/Getty Images]
Workers at an oil port in Libya on 24 September 2020 [AFP/Getty Images]

The Total oil company from France plans to increase its investment in Libya's oil industry, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in the North African state has announced. According to the NOC, it has discussed with Total raising Libya's production to "the highest levels".

The head of exploration and production in the Middle East and North Africa for Total, Stephane Michel, pledged during an online meeting with NOC chairman Mustafa Sunallah to provide support and cooperation for his company's strategic partner.

Total has stakes in several Libyan oil fields, including the biggest, Sharara. This, along with many other fields, was shut down for more than eight months this year after groups affiliated with the Benghazi-based parliament blockaded oil export terminals. This lowered Libya's oil output from above 1 million barrels per day to below 100,000.

Last week, S&P Global Platts quoted traders in the oil market as saying that the global market has absorbed the growing and sudden surge of Libyan oil production, contrary to the expectations of energy agencies and experts. The recovery came as a surprise, even to Libyan officials, who initially indicated a slower increase to 700,000 barrels per day by December, before ending up producing over one million barrels.

The surge of Libyan oil production was more rapid than expected, raising concerns among the OPEC+ countries that are cutting production this year to reduce inflated oil stocks. Expectations of more production cuts by OPEC+ for at least three months have led to an increase in oil prices.

READ: Will Covid-19 constrain Eastern Mediterranean gas production?

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