* Libya output at 85,000 bpd vs pre-war 100,000 bpd
* Infrastructure problems, strikes still limit production
* Protests could continue to disrupt oil industry
By Victoria Klesty
OSLO, June 7 BASF-owned oil company
Wintershall hasn't been able to raise its Libyan oil production
to pre-civil war levels because of lingering infrastructure
problems, and protests could continue to disrupt the country's
The firm now produces 85,000 barrels per day and this year
aims to get production back to the 100,000 barrels per day it
had before the war in 2011, Uwe Salge, Wintershall's general
manager in Libya, told Reuters.
"The major limiting factor is that our exports are relying
on infrastructures of other operators where we have already had
some problems, like strikes," Salge said.
"Also there are certain oil field services which are not yet
fully available in the country, but they are coming back."
Wintershall was the second largest foreign oil firm in
Libya before leader Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in
2011, after Italy's ENI. Before the unrest, Libya
accounted for three-quarters of its total oil output.
Protests and attacks against Libyan oil installations are a
regular feature with locals demanding jobs, and have disrupted
operations. Production at the North African country's major El
Feel oilfield was shut on May 29 as a precaution due to a
protest at the site.
Wintershall's installations have been spared such attacks,
Salge said, but added that the industry was likely to experience
continued ruptures with temporary production shutdowns ahead.
"I think that these activities (protests) could continue for
some time because the ideas and programmes that the government
wants to implement are taking longer than expected, so people
are getting impatient," he said.
"I don't see this as a long-term risk," Salge said, adding
that the areas where Wintershall is based were "rather civil".
The company has helped build a new pipeline carrying crude
oil to export port Ras Lanuf in northern Libya, and the pipe has
been onstream since beginning of March, Salge said.
OIL FORCE GUARD
The hostage-taking crisis in January at the In Amenas gas
plant in neighbouring Algeria has put security in the spotlight.
Libya has a 15,000-strong oil force guard, made up mainly of
former rebel fighters. However, still lacking proper training,
the men have at times fought amongst themselves.
Salge said that while the oil guard may not work efficiently
everywhere, he generally thinks the concept is a good one.
"The discipline, from what I see, from the oil field guard
is quite good," he said.
(Editing by Mark Potter)