Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc agreed annual deals to buy Libyan crude, underscoring how the North African country’s recovering production and improving security are enticing some of the world’s largest oil companies.
Libya pumped the most oil in four years in 2017 amid signs that the worst of a conflict that hobbled output was being resolved. While the return of Shell and BP to its list of customers would be good news for Libya, the country’s production remains well below where it used to be under the rule of dictator Moammar Qaddafi. Boosting it will also be challenging because Libya made a commitment to OPEC to limit supplies to reduce a global surplus.
A Shell spokesman wasn’t immediately able to comment while BP spokesman David Nicholas declined to do so. Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp., didn’t answer phone calls seeking comment. In August, Shell bought its first shipment of Libyan crude in five years in a spot deal. Neither company was on the NOC’s list of 2017 term buyers, which includes companies such as Vitol Group, Glencore Plc, Total SA and OMV AG, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg.
Libya’s oil production returned to about 1 million barrels a day earlier this month, following power disruptions at the Sharara field, the nation’s largest. Libya and Nigeria have committed to restrict their combined production to about 2.8 million barrels a day as part of a producer pact led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut an oversupply.
Libya’s averaged 828,000 barrels a day in 2017, the highest annual average in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Sources and photo-credits: Bloomberg with assistance by Kelly Gilblom