Libya halves budget deficit thanks to rise in oil revenues

Tripoli (Reuters) - Libya’s budget deficit was narrowed to 4.6 billion dinars ($3.32 billion dollars) in 2018 down from 10.6 billion dinars in 2017 thanks to a rise in oil revenues, the central bank said on Monday.

Libya’s oil revenues stood at 24.5 billion dollars in 2018, up 78 percent from the previous year, central bank data showed.

State oil company NOC aims to increase production to 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2021.

Currently Libya produces about 950,000 bpd, less than its pre-civil war capacity of 1.6 million bpd, as the country’s biggest oil field El Sharara remains closed since it was taken over on Dec. 8 by tribesmen, armed protesters and state guards demanding salary payments and development funds.

Libya has been divided since 2014 between rival institutions and warring factions based in the east and west.

However, the central bank in Tripoli has continued to control oil revenues, which account for nearly all the country’s income, and to disburse them across the country.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami, writing by Ahmed Eljechtimi