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13.01.2012

Austria's OMV says Libya oil production at 60%

Austrian energy giant OMV said Thursday its oil production in Libya now stands at 60 percent of the pre-war level, up from 30 percent in November.

"At the moment production is 19,000 barrels per day, around 60 percent of the pre-war level," with output rising sharply in recent months as Libya recovers from the conflict that ousted Moamer Kadhafi, spokesman Sven Pusswald said.

The comment tallies with that of other Western companies extracting Libya's highly sought-after low-sulphur crude, with Italy's ENI saying recently that output was now at 70 percent of pre-crisis levels.

OMV chief executive Gerhard Roiss had said in December that production levels would reach pre-war levels in 12-15 months, a target that Pusswald said the firm was sticking to for now.

In 2010, Libya's capacity was just short of 1.7 million barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil Minister Abdel Rahman bin Yezza recently predicted production would be back to normal in the second half of 2012.

OMV, which relies on Libya for around 10 percent of its oil output, recently sent its general manager for the country back to the North African state, but he is only staying there for a few days at a time for safety reasons.

"The situation is still too unstable and is being constantly assessed," Pussmann said.

Copyright 2011, AFP. All rights reserved.

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