Total expects to see pre-war Libya oil output soon

French oil major Total expects its oil production in Libya to return to pre-war levels as soon as next month, a company executive told Reuters on Tuesday.





"We have been at normal levels of production offshore since Sept. 23, and our field onshore will now restart. We should be back to our usual level (of output) very quickly, at the least in January," said Bernard Avignon, Total’s head of exploration and production (E&P) in Libya.

Avignon made the comments on the sidelines of a delegation of French business officials travelling to Tripoli.

Earlier in the day, Michel Seguin, special adviser to Total’s E&P head, said the French group expected to restart its onshore production in a few days.

"There are still some logistical issues that need to be sorted out," Seguin said.

Total had production of 55,000 barrels a day in Libya prior to the eight-month war that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya was Africa’s third-largest producer before the war, pumping around 1.6 million barrels per day and exporting about 1.3 million bpd, mostly to European clients.

The country’s oil output has now reached 1 million bpd, its oil minister said last week after an OPEC meeting, in a further sign of a more rapid-than-expected recovery.

Total’s operations currently focus on the Al Jurf oilfield offshore and the Mabruk field onshore, but the French group also hopes to capitalise on France’s backing of the country’s new leaders during the civil war.

Last week, a senior source at Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) told Reuters Total would be among 10 companies that would get priority access to term supplies of its crude oil in 2012.

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