Libya’s NOC to boost oil output by 100,000 bpd next year, chairman says

Company aiming for 83 per cent reduction in gas flaring by 2030, Farhat Bengdara says

An oil terminal west of Benghazi, Libya. Reuters
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Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) plans to step up its output by 100,000 barrels per day in 2024, its chairman has said.

Higher production gives the company a chance to replace reduced crude supplies from other parts of the world, Farhat Bengdara told The National when asked about volatility in the oil market.

The state oil company plans to boost production to 2 million bpd in the next three to five years, from about 1.2 million bpd currently.

“However, we are not immune from political and geopolitical circumstances happening today, everywhere,” Mr Bengdara said on the sidelines of the Cop28 climate conference in Dubai.

“We have to do our best to stay stable, increase production [and] control the operations within Libya."

Libya, the seventh-largest crude oil producer in Opec, has also been looking to boost production after years of being plagued by conflict and political instability.

Crude oil and natural gas export revenue make up a significant part of Libya’s economy.

In 2021, oil revenue accounted for an estimated 98 per cent of Libya’s total government revenue, according to the country's central bank.

Libya's government has committed $12 billion to step up oil production in the country, with another $5 billion expected from the Libyan Investment Authority, Mr Bengdara said.

He added the NOC was aiming for an 83 per cent reduction in gas flaring by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“We have a project with TotalEnergies for 500 megawatts and we are studying another project with Eni to swap gas for renewables,” Mr Bengdara said.

“We don't use the gas for our electricity. We export gas to Europe and we use renewables for our own consumption because we are more competitive in cost when it comes to producing renewables than Europe."

On Saturday, 50 oil and gas companies, including NOC, signed the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter, committing to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. The charter also aims for near-zero upstream methane emissions and zero routine flaring by 2030.

“I'm quite optimistic and I think it's a doable thing,” Mr Bengdara said.

NOC’s production increase comes against the backdrop of falling oil prices, despite two major geopolitical conflicts and record crude imports from China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Brent, the benchmark for two thirds of the world oil, is currently trading below $80 a barrel after briefly touching $98 in September.

Last week, Opec members extended their voluntary oil output reductions of a combined 2.2 million bpd until the end of the first quarter of next year amid concerns over the fuel demand outlook.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has said it will keep its voluntary output cut of one million bpd until the end of March.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, the kingdom’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said he expected Opec to bring about the crude oil production cuts.

"I honestly believe that will continue to happen [and the] 2 million will overcome even the huge inventory build that usually happens in the first quarter,” he said.

Updated: December 05, 2023, 2:27 PM