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Libya should be exempted from OPEC output cut: official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A worker checks pipes and valves at the Amaal oil field in eastern Libya, on October 7, 2011. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

A worker checks pipes and valves at the Amaal oil field in eastern Libya, on October 7, 2011. (Reuters/Ismail Zitouny)

Khobar, Asharq Al-Awsat—Libya should be exempted from any measures to reduce oil production output among OPEC countries, the country’s governor at the organization told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Samir Kamal said he agreed with the need for an output cut among the organization’s member states, saying the market was oversupplied by about 1 million barrels per day (bpd), but insisted any cut in production should not apply to the North African country, saying it currently “needs every drop of its [oil] output.”

Steadily falling oil prices amid weak global demand and an excess in supply have led many, including OPEC’s own secretary-general, to call for the organization’s members to slash their collective daily output by 500,000 bpd in order to maintain prices.

Brent crude steadied at just above 85 US dollars per barrel on Thursday, an almost four-year low, having fallen below the critical 100-dollar-per-barrel mark last month for the first time in over a year, a price most major oil producers need in order to meet budgetary requirements.

Libya itself has said it needs oil prices to return to 115 dollars per barrel in order to balance its budget, and would face grim financial prospects if prices stayed below 90 dollars per barrel.

The oil-rich country faces a massive budget deficit resulting from the suspension of its oil production for more than a year amid the turmoil that continues to grip the country in the aftermath of the 2011 upheaval that toppled Muammar Gaddafi from power.

Libyan authorities are currently battling a host of militias in the capital Tripoli and the port city of Benghazi and have had to contend with militias gaining hold of strategic oil ports, fields and tankers in recent months.

This comes as oil ministers from OPEC’s 12 member states prepare to meet on November 27 to discuss slashing their current collective output of 30 million bpd.

Kamal said several of the organization’s members understood the difficulties facing Libya, and have promised to “make room for Libyan production.”

The country is currently producing 800,000 bpd of oil, up from around 215,000 bpd in the Spring when militias captured a number of strategic ports and tankers.

The oil ministers of the country’s two rival governments in Tobruk and Tripoli have vowed to maintain oil output at the current level despite the turmoil ripping through the North African country.