Libya’s NOC chief sees higher oil prices, not relying on OPEC

OPEC member Libya produced almost 1.6 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) before the 2011 revolution

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The head of Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) sees higher oil prices and said the company is working to boost output and regain market share taken by other producers.

Speaking on a visit to London, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah said he saw signs of oil demand increasing across the globe and a fall in the supply of shale oil in the United States.

“There is a general consensus that oil prices will recover. The worst of the market is behind us now,” he said on Tuesday at the Platts Global Crude Oil Summit.

“It is expected that the oil price will start to rise by the beginning of the second half of this year and continue to rise in 2016.”

Brent crude was trading at around $65 a barrel, up from a low near $45 seen in January but still nearly half the level set in June 2014 before a collapse due to a global glut.

OPEC member Libya produced almost 1.6 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) before the 2011 revolution which ousted Muammar Qaddafi, but output is now far lower due to unrest.

Sanallah said Libya is pumping around 436,000 bpd, a total he hoped would increase by 200,000 bpd in the next two months through the repair of damaged fields and keeping dialogue with elements who have blocked pipelines and oilfields.

An increase in Libyan oil production would not weaken prices, he said, citing the expectation for a stronger market.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on June 5 to review its 2014 decision not to cut production and focus on market share. Sanallah said his priority was boosting Libyan output rather than the OPEC meeting.

“For the last three years, the other members, not only from OPEC but the others, they get advantage of Libya being outside of the market,” he said.

“So my colleagues work very hard to increase our production, to make the required maintenance. I’m not relying too much on the OPEC meeting.”

He said he shared the view of Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, seen as the driver of OPEC’s 2014 decision not to cut output. “I do agree with him. So we are focusing on our market share also.”

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