Libya tripled oil revenue in 2017 as production recovers

January 10, 2018

LIBYA’S oil revenues nearly tripled in 2017 to $14 billion as the country managed last year to gradually recover its oil production, reaching 1 million bpd for the first time since 2013.

According to data by Libya’s central bank, the revenues from oil sales almost tripled last year from $4.8 billion in 2016.

The surge in oil revenues amid recovering production and recovering oil prices allowed Libya to halve its budget deficit last year, to $7.85 billion (10.6 billion Libyan dinars), from $15 billion (20.3 billion dinars) in 2016, the central bank said.

Libya’s oil revenues represented more than 86 percent of its total income last year.

In its economic outlook on Libya in October 2017, the World Bank

“Despite strong growth performance driven by the oil sector, the Libyan economy is still suffering from political strife that hinders it from reaching its potential. Following four years of recession, the Libyan economy recovered in 2017-H1, thanks to the resumption in the production of hydrocarbon products after the repossession from militias of the main oil fields last year.”

The civil strife crippled most of Libya’s oil production, which slumped well below the 1.6-million-bpd the country was pumping before the 2011 uprising. Libya, as well as Nigeria, won an exemption from the initial production cut deal that OPEC and a dozen non-OPEC producers forged at the end of 2016.

After the main fields and oil export terminals in Libya re-opened in 2017, production started to increase and, together with Nigeria’s recovering oil production and U.S. shale resurgence, was offsetting part of the OPEC cuts and depressed oil prices for much of 2017.

When OPEC met to extend the production cuts in November 2017, Libya and Nigeria agreed to cap their respective 2018 oil production at the 2017 levels as part of their contribution to the pact. After reaching the 1-million-bpd production mark in the summer, Libya has been struggling to raise its production significantly above that level, with sudden outages persisting, albeit less frequent. At the end of December, a blown-up pipeline that transports crude oil to Libya’s largest oil export terminal resulted in a week of production losses.

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