Libyan oil production is set to reach 1 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of November and will return to pre-war levels by the middle of next year, according to a report from Petroleum Policy Intelligence.
This prediction is more optimistic than an estimate from the head of Libya's interim government, who said on Monday it would take 12-18 months for production to return to normal.
Some analysts say it could take as long as three years for the Opec member to reach full output. "Pessimistic assessments of Libya's post-crisis oil industry are set to be swept aside over the next few weeks as Libyan oil officials bring major oil fields back on stream in the southwest, southeast and central eastern parts of the country," said the report from the UK-based consulting firm, citing unidentified senior officials of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC).
Oil production resumed in eastern Libya in early September, and some oil has been sold onto the international spot market, although exact quantities are unclear.
The report said the El-Sharara field deep in the county's western desert could start producing "within the next two weeks" and could reach output of 400,000 barrels per day shortly. It also said more production was imminent at fields operated by Italian oil firm Eni after the company restarted its Abu Attifel site.
Petroleum Policy Intelligence said the country's politics were unlikely to affect the operations of the oil sector, because since this was being managed separately by the NOC. "Libya's post-crisis politics is unlikely to slow efforts to restart oil production," the report said.
It is still unclear how responsibilities will be divided between the NOC and the oil and finance ministry, currently headed by Ali Tarhouni. Under former leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's NOC handled both oil policy and the day-to-day commercial operations of the industry.