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Libyan oil production now more than 760,000 bpd: NOC

© AFP/File | A general view shows an oil facility in the northern Libyan town of al-Buraqah

TRIPOLI (AFP) - 

Libya's oil production, the country's main source of revenue, rose Monday to more than 760,000 barrels per day for the first time since 2014, the National Oil Corporation said.

Oil is Libya's main natural resource, with reserves estimated at 48 billion barrels, the largest in Africa.

NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla indicated in a statement that "oil production today, for the first time since 2014, passed the 760,000 barrels a day mark".

"The NOC is determined to continue its plan to increase production as this is the only way to ensure growth in government revenues and thus save the national economy," Sanalla said.

The statement said the Court of Auditors in 2016 recorded the worst deficit "in the modern history of Libya".

"Revenues did not exceed 8.6 billion dinars ($6.1 billion, 5.6 billion euros) while expenses were of the order of 30 billion dinars... drawn from Central Bank reserves since 2013," Sanalla said.

Libya produced 1.6 million bpd before the fall of Moamer Kadhafi's regime in 2011.

But the country has sunk into post-revolution political and security chaos, and is no longer able to fully exploit or profit from its huge petroleum resources.

Oil production is regularly disrupted by armed clashes or by protest groups making social demands.

By the end of 2014, fighting and protests had blocked most of the country's oilfields and export terminals.

No oil was exported from Libya's main ports until September 2016 with the reopening of the Ras Lanuf terminal in the country's so-called oil crescent.

"The closure of oil ports has cost Libya more than $130 billion (120 billion euros)," Sanalla said.

On Thursday, he had outlined to AFP his hopes for the industry over the next few months.

"We are going to increase production slowly, and I hope we will reach our objective of a national production of 1.1 barrels per day" by August, Sanalla said.

© 2017 AFP