April 28, 2019 / 5:06 PM / a month ago

Eastern Libyan state oil firm AGOCO producing 304,000 bpd: chairman

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Eastern Libyan state oil firm AGOCO, a subsidiary of state oil firm NOC, is producing 304,000 barrels a day of oil, its chairman told Reuters on Sunday.

Mohamed Shatwan said production would rise to 350,000 bpd after new projects such as improving power supply had been completed, a plan that has been in the works for over a year.

The firm’s production fluctuates, due partly to electricity problems. It reported production of 314,000 bpd for the last two months.

Shatwan also said there were no security issues at any oilfield. AGOCO’s biggest asset is the Sarir oilfield.

There has been no recent oil production figure released by Libya’s state oil firm NOC.

Ali Abdulaziz Issawi, who is economy minister of the internationally recognized government in the capital, Tripoli, told Reuters on Thursday that national output was 1.150 million bpd. NOC could not be reached for comment.

NOC has sought to stay out of a conflict between the Tripoli government and a parallel administration in Benghazi allied to Khalifa Haftar.

But AGOCO, like other NOC units in the east, has expressed support for Haftar, whose forces, known as the LNA, began an offensive to take Tripoli three weeks ago.

The LNA controls eastern oil ports and oilfields but has left NOC running them because foreign buyers of oil only want to deal with NOC, which they have known for decades.

In a statement on Sunday AGOCO congratulated Haftar’s forces “on the successes and progresses in its striving against extremist terrorist militias and militias which steal public funds”.

The LNA refers to forces allied to the Tripoli government as militias.

A separate NOC unit in the east, Sirte Oil Co, also issued a statement backing the Tripoli advance.

The comments came a day after Tripoli-based NOC condemned in a statement the use of its Ras Lanuf and Es Sider oil ports for military purposes, without mentioning the LNA or naming who was behind the acts.

“Incidents recorded by NOC include: The seizure of the Es Sider airstrip for military use, military personnel entering the port of Es Sider as well as attempts to requisition NOC tug boats, the berthing of warships in the Ras Lanuf terminal and its use by Libyan military vessels,” the statement said.

Haftar’s forces said earlier on Saturday they had sent a warship to the eastern Ras Lanuf oil port, after days of unconfirmed rumors of a foreign navy ship having been sighted.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said his forces had sent the Alkarama patrol vessel to Ras Lanuf as part of a “training mission” to visit the operations room and to secure oil facilities.

A port engineer said the navy ship’s berthing had not affected oil exports, which were as normal.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Writing by Ahmed Elumami and Ulf Laessing, Editing by Ulf Laessing and Catherine Evans

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