More exploration for black gold in Libya

Published December 12th, 2012 - 08:02 GMT
Libya could be set for more oil exploration
Libya could be set for more oil exploration

Libya could proceed with a new round of oil exploration and production deals in the transitional period but the priority for now is to maintain pre-war output levels and future targets, the OPEC member's new oil minister said.

The Gulf Daily News reported that Libya has lifted output faster than analysts had expected to around 1.5-1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) after last year's war, which toppled former dictator Gaddafi from power. 

"Our priority is to maintain production at 1.5m bpd," Abdelbari Al Arusi said. "We now have our target to increase production by 100,000 bpd for the coming few months, and then we're planning to drill more wells to increase our production rate."

The National Oil Corporation aims to boost output to 1.72m bpd by end-March but has warned of the risk that strikes could interrupt production.

The minister reiterated Libya's target of increasing output to 2m bpd by 2015.

He said Libya would review its last round of exploration and production sharing agreements (EPSA) and "come up with the right solution for new negotiations in the future".

Until late 2004, unexplored territory had been off-limits for decades because of sanctions. In the last bidding round after which land opened up and a scramble for acreage ensued, companies accepted some of the industry's tightest exploration and production deals.

"This EPSA IV (the last round) will be reviewed for the interest of the Libyans and our partners. A lot of companies have complained about it. We don't like people to lose, because this is a win-win business," he said.

Asked if Libya is likely to see another licensing round within the next 15 months, he said, "Could be, I am not sure; it depends on the situation here in Libya". Ahead of OPEC's meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, he described recent oil prices levels at around $110 a barrel as "reasonable"

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