Libya to Raise Oil Production to 1.7M Barrels per Day

VIENNA - Libya may ask to increase its production quota within OPEC when the cartel meets in Vienna Friday, Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi said Thursday. 

"We are currently producing around 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil, and we plan to raise our output to 1.7 million barrels per day," Mr. al-Arusi told Dow Jones Newswires. 

"We may ask OPEC to increase our production quota this meeting," he said. 

Mr. al-Arusi didn't say when Libya will lift its output to 1.7 million barrels per day, but last month he said the country expected to reach this level in the next two or three months once it resolves some technical issues related to production. 

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries scrapped individual members' production quotas in 2011 in favor of a collective ceiling of 30 million barrels a day. Libya's last output target was 1.47 million barrels per day. 

Mr. al-Arusi has previously said the North African country was currently exporting around 1.1 million barrels per day. 

Libya used to produce 1.7 million barrels per day before the uprising that toppled long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Last month, the country pumped 1.375 million barrels per day, according to a survey of industry and official sources conducted by Dow Jones Newswires. 

The Arab state, holder of Africa's biggest crude reserves, has fast recovered its oil production since the overthrow and killing of Mr. Gadhafi, but foreign companies still complain of infrastructure constraints, tough contract terms and a lack of security. 

Since the war, oil and gas facilities have frequently been the target of protests and attacks by militias. 

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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