Libyan Hydrocarbon Reserves and Production

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Reserves

Oil reserves

At the end of 2011 Libya had proven oil reserves of 47.1 billion barrels (bbl), accounting for 2.9 percent of the global total.[1] Official reserve estimates for Libya jumped in 1995 from 22.8 bbl to 29.5 bbl, where they stayed until 2000 when exploration activity began to ramp up, causing the reserve estimates to increase more consistently into the 21st Century.[2]

According to the consultancy Wood Mackenzie, Libya in 2008 was said to be 'highly unexplored', but with 'excellent' potential for more oil discoveries. In their analysis the under-exploration of Libya was largely due to sanctions, the absence of modern technology and to stringent fiscal terms imposed by Libya on foreign oil companies.[3] Most of the agreements signed by international oil companies from 2004 onwards, once sanctions were lifted, called for increasing production, yet significant effort was also put into finding new oil reserves. However, there have been reports that the promise of vast new discoveries did not live up to the expectations of some, especially when compared to the case of Iraq. Jim Burkhard of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, claimed that "we didn't see the types of discoveries that would lead to very strong growth over the next decade."

Gas reserves

The official estimate for proven Libyan natural gas reserves stood at 1.5 trillion cubic metres (tcm) at the end of 2010, representing 0.8% of global reserves.[4] It remained at the same level at the end of 2011.[5]

In 2007 Libyan experts were expecting ultimate reserves to be 2-2.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf), while the National Oil Corporation (NOC) estimated reserves of approximately 3.4 tcm.[6]

In 2011 the Libyan government was planning to further develop its natural gas sector in the medium-term as the country continued to recover from over a decade of US and international sanctions. New discoveries and investments in natural gas exploration reported at the beginning of 2011 are expected to raise the current estimates in the near-term.[7]

Production

Oil

Over 2011 Libya produced an average of only 479,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, accounting for 0.6 percent of global production.[8] Libya's oil output dropped to less than 100,000 bpd by August 2011 as a result of the revolution,[9]

In the previous year Libya produced approximately 1.65 million bpd, around 150,000 bpd below capacity but still above the production quota set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which was 1.47 million bpd.[10] Energy analysts Wood Mackenzie estimated Libya had the potential to produce up to 3 million bpd of oil,[11] which was its approximate peak production in the late 1960s.[12]

Following the upheaval of the revolution, former Libyan oil minister Shukri Ghanem expected the country to require up to US $4 billion to restore oil production to the levels it maintained before the start of the revolution.[13] The head of the NOC said on the 2 October 2011 that he expects Libya's pre-war output of 1.6 million bpd to be reached within 14 months,[14] Ghanem suggested that full output was not expected for another 18 months due to looting and missing parts at oil installations.[15]

About 85 percent of Libyan crude exports went to Europe in 2010[16] and approximately 13 percent to Asia.[17] Italy received the highest percentage of Libya's exported oil (28%), while France (15%), China (11%), Germany (10%) and Spain (10%) were also major importers, among other countries. The lighter (high API gravity), sweeter (low sulphur content) grades of oil were typically sold to Europe, while the heavier crude oils were often exported to Asian markets.[18]

Gas

Over 2011 Libya produced on average 4.1 billion cubic metres (bcm) per day of natural gas. This represented a fall of 75.6 percent on the previous year's gas production figures.[19]

Gas exports from Libya to Europe rose with the introduction of the Western Libya Gas Project (WLGP) and Greenstream underwater pipeline that came on stream in 2004. Previously the only customer for Libyan gas was Spain's Enagas.[20]

References

  1. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012”. BP.
  2. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011”. BP.
  3. Energy Profile of Libya”. BP, 25 August 2008.
  4. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011”. BP.
  5. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012”. BP.
  6. FACTBOX-Key facts about Libya's gas sector”. Reuters, 15 August 2007.
  7. Libya Country Analysis”. US Energy Information Administration, retrieved 25 October 2011.
  8. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012”. BP.
  9. "Factbox: Libyan oil output - how quickly can it restart?" Reuters, 22 August 2011.
  10. Libya Country Analysis”. US Energy Information Administration, retrieved 25 October 2011.
  11. "Press Releases: Energy" Wood Mackenzie 12 September 2011.
  12. "Libya - Country Analysis Brief" Energy Information Administration, retrieved 21 October 2011.
  13. "After Qadhafi, the new test: uniting Libya" Petroleum Economist, 21 October 2011.
  14. "EXCLUSIVE: Libya oil exports at 400,000 b/d 'within two months'" Petroleum Economist, 3 October 2011.
  15. "Opec's El-Badri sees swift Libyan oil return" Petroleum Economist, 11 October 2011.
  16. Libya Country Analysis”. US Energy Information Administration, retrieved 25 October 2011.
  17. "Factbox: Libyan oil production, exports, customers" Reuters, 22 February 2011.
  18. Libya Country Analysis”. US Energy Information Administration, retrieved 25 October 2011.
  19. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012”. BP.
  20. FACTBOX-Key facts about Libya's gas sector”. Reuters, 15 August 2007.