Libya’s oil production recovers to pre-blockade level

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Libya’s crude output has rebounded to its early April levels, the OPEC member’s oil minister said, in an increase that could help cool a jittery global oil market.

Output has climbed to 1.2 million barrels per day, Oil Minister Mohamed Oun said in a telephone interview. The level is a milestone after production had been more than halved since mid-April. The increase comes after officials reached an agreement earlier this month with protesters and tribal leaders to reopen fields and export terminals largely shut for months.


The North African nation’s oil output has been hit by a power struggle between rival governments headed by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in the west and Fathi Bashagha in the east. Each claim to be the legitimate prime minister-- who each claim to be the legitimate prime minister.

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The ramp-up in production would not only help bring in foreign currency into the country, but also could offer some relief for under-supplied oil markets and high prices that have stoked inflation across the globe.

Libya’s oil output has see-sawed over the past years, largely as a result of the political and security unrest in the country that ensued after the ouster of Moammar Al Qaddafi in 2011. Power struggles between rival governments have compounded years of neglect in developing or revamping the oil infrastructure.

The latest drop was a result of the blockade and the protests. Part of the deal to end that unrest that was the Tripoli-based government of Dbeibah’s decision on July 15 to overhaul the board of the state oil firm National Oil Corp. and to appoint Farhat Bengdara as head of the group. He replaced Mustafa Sanalla, who had frequently been at odds with the oil ministry that was reinstated by Dbeibah.

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