Oil production in Libya returns to pre-blockade levels: Official – Region – World

File photo: Libyan Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohamed Aoun, in Tripoli, Libya.

“We are pleased to report that our production rates have reached pre-force majeure levels” of 1.2 million barrels per day, Libya’s National Oil Corporation said on Twitter.

Oil and Gas Minister Mohammed Aoun told AFP he “confirms” that production has returned to that level.

On July 15, Libya’s new oil chief lifted force majeure on all the country’s oilfields and export terminals as groups besieging several facilities ended a blockade that had begun in mid-April.

Force majeure is a legal measure allowing companies to free themselves from their contractual obligations in the face of circumstances beyond their control.

The NOC, vital to Libya’s oil-rich economy, has repeatedly resorted to the mechanism amid blockades of oil facilities during years of violence and political upheaval following the NATO-backed revolt that overthrew and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Conflict in recent years has largely pitted authorities in the capital Tripoli against a camp in the east, where the parliament is based.

As the country’s divided authorities struggled for power, groups close to the eastern camp blocked six oil fields and export terminals to demand a “more equitable distribution” of hydrocarbon revenues.

Oil production fell to around 400,000 barrels of crude per day during the blockade from mid-April to mid-July.

Western diplomatic sources said the eastern-based camp had agreed to reopen the facilities in exchange for a share of oil revenues to be spent in areas under their control.

The deal, which has not been officially confirmed, also saw the Tripoli-based government of Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah replace veteran NOC leader Mustafa Sanalla with Farhat Bengdara.

Bandara is said to be close to the United Arab Emirates, which supports the camp based in the East.

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