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HOPEFUL: Libya Sees Oil Output At Pre-War Levels In 15 Months
Libya's oil production can restart within weeks and reach full pre-war output within 15 months, or that is at least what the newly-appointed chairman of the country's National Oil Corporation is hoping for.
August 31, 2011 11:49 by p.deleon
“Starting up production will be within weeks, not months. After we start it will take less than 15 months (to reach full output),” Nouri Berouin, chairman of the NOC, told Reuters at the headquarters of Libya’s ruling interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), in Benghazi.
The OPEC member was producing 1.6 million barrels per day before an uprising began in February against leader Muammar Gaddafi. The civil war caused foreign workers to flee and some oilfields and export terminals were damaged.
Berouin said most oilfields were “fine” and had not suffered major damage but he said that minefields around the Brega export terminal could slow the resumption of normal operations.
“Once our fields are secure we need to make sure we clear the mines. Building up output will require logistical support and we might need our foreign partners,” he said, adding that they were also working on ramping up security in desert oilfields.
Also on Tuesday, Libya’s new oil minister Ali Tarhouni said he expects the country’s wells to start pumping oil in coming days.
“In the coming days we expect oil fields and the wells to go back pumping at a normal situation,” he said through a translator at a news conference in Tripoli.
Speaking in English, Tarhouni added: “Not exactly normal, close to.”
Tarhouni added that there was no need for international forces to help protect oil facilities.
“We have no interest, we have no policy, no desire to invite any international forces to protect any oil installations or to enhance security measures,” he said.
NTC fighters moved into Tripoli earlier this month but clashes with forces loyal to Gaddafi continue near the major coastal oil terminals of Es-Sider and Ras Lanuf.
RESPECT FOR CONTRACTS
Berouin said oil contracts signed with the Libyan NOC before the war, when it was under the leadership of Shokri Ghanem, will be respected.
“I have met with international oil companies and the first thing I told them was that we respect all contracts,” he said.
Asked how he would change the operations of the NOC, now in the hands of rebels, he said: “We are going to make it more transparent and national oil companies will be more independent.”
Berouin said he plans to represent Libya at the next meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), expected to take place in Vienna in December. This will give the nascent rebel government a role in determining the group’s output policy which influences the global price of oil.
“The next meeting, I will be there,” he said.
Tarhouni, the rebels’ finance and oil minister, had voiced hopes of attending the last OPEC meeting in June but Libya was represented by a member of the Gaddafi government. (Additional reporting by Mo Abbas, Editing by Anthony Barker)