'Restart of Full Oil Production Taking Months', Shokri Ghanem says 22/08/2011 17:18:00
Shokri Ghanem, former chairman of Libya's NOC
Libya will be able to restart some oil output in a few months, although it will take as long as 18 months to reach the pre-war level, the country's former top oil official Shokri Ghanem said on Monday.
Ghanem, Libya's former oil minister and head of the National Oil Corporataio, NOC before his defection from the government of Muammar Al Qathafi in May, also said he hoped the Libyan people would "be able to create a new government that is democratic and respects human rights."
On the other hand, foreign oil producers in Libya, home to Africa’s largest oil reserves, said it was too early to consider restoring production at closed fields as rebels appeared on the verge of ending Muammar Al Qathafi’s 42-year rule.
Libya produced more than 1.5 million barrels a day before the start of the conflict in February. Italy’s Eni SpA (ENI), the largest foreign producer in Libya, and other oil companies idled fields and evacuated staff, cutting the country’s output more than 90 percent. The Rome- based company has said it could take a year to get fields back to full capacity.
“It is important that the political situation should stabilise first and the legitimate leadership be established and ministers appointed,” Ivan Gogolev, a spokesman at Gazprom International, told Bloomberg today. The Russian gas producer has two exploration blocks and is a partner in producing fields. “Only then will we assess when we can come back, but it is understandable that we want to be back.”
Meanwhile, Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said in a newspaper interview that the allies supporting the rebels with air power - the U.S., U.K., France and Italy - are working with the National Transitional Council to restore full scale oil production.
Sven Pusswald, a spokesman of OMV AG (OMV), which halted its Shateira oil field in February, said, “We are watching further developments in Libya. We don’t have any bilateral contact” with the rebels.
A spokeswoman for Repsol SA, Spain’s largest oil company, told Bloomberg it is monitoring events on the ground, while BP Plc (BP/) won’t return staff to Libya while unrest continues, spokeswoman Sheila Williams said.
Eni’s head of exploration and production, Claudio Descalzi, told analysts during a July 29 conference call that it will take about a year to get full oil production back up in Libya and about two to three months to restore full gas flows. Eni declined to comment on the Libyan situation today.
Eni’s oil and gas production in Libya has fallen to about 50,000 barrels a day from 280,000 a day because of the conflict.
“This is good news for Eni, but to be reassured we’ll need to know what plans the rebels have and whether they can quickly pacify and manage the country,” said Massimiliano Romano, head of research at brokerage Concentric Italy in Milan. “Between that and getting production going again I think it will take some time before the companies are making money in Libya.”
UK to Assist Rebels by Unfreezing Libyan's Funds While urging long-time Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi to step down, world leaders have further boosted the rebels' moral by even promising material support, with British prime minister David Cameron among the first to say that Libyan assets frozen during Al Qathafi's reign would soon be released to aid the rebels establish order in the country.