On Saturday, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that the country’s revenues of oil and gas exports hit more than $21.5 billion in 2021, the highest level in five years.
In a statement, the state-run Libyan NOC said that the total net revenue for oil and gas exports last year amounted to $21.5 billion as well as €30 million in non-dollar sales.
It added that the record levels were achieved in November and December, raising a combined $4.3 billion in the two last months of 2021.
“The end of the year 2021 recorded a recovery, and oil prices achieved their largest annual gains since 2016, driven by the recovery of the global economy from the state of stagnation” due to the coronavirus epidemic, the NOC’s Chief, Mustafa Sanallah, said.
Since the 1970s, Libya, which sits on the largest known oil reserves in Africa, has been heavily dependent on revenues from its hydrocarbon exports.
However, in a decade of violence since the 2011 revolt that overthrew and killed long-time leader Moammer Gaddafi, armed groups have frequently blockaded or damaged oil installations.
The shutdowns have forced the Libyan NOC to declare force majeure, a legal move allowing it to free itself from contractual obligations in light of factors beyond its control.
Oil production has recovered to 1.2 million barrels per day, a week after militias ended a three-week blockade of several western fields, including the nation’s biggest.
Government officials reached a deal with a paramilitary force known as the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), the people said on Monday. The PFG is meant to protect energy facilities but in recent years has closed some of them to press salary and political demands. In December, the group shut pipelines taking oil from Sharara, Libya’s biggest field, and others to ports.
Yet Sanallah warned “the ability of the oil sector in Libya to invest and advance the process of infrastructure modernisation will remain weak in the foreseeable future, especially in light of the scarcity of budgets.”
“What we need more than ever is to think outside the box and create initiatives to save the infrastructure,” he stressed.
Prior to the closures, Libya’s oil sector was experiencing a period of calm. Production rose above 1 million barrels a day in late 2020 and averaged around 1.2 million in 2021.