June 30, 2015 / 12:59 AM / 4 years ago

Talks ongoing to restart closed Libyan oilfields, output stable: NOC

A general view shows Libya's El Sharara oilfield December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Negotiations to reopen Libyan oilfields are ongoing and the level of the country’s production remains stable, a spokesman for the state National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday.

Libyan authorities said they were trying during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began two weeks ago, to reopen pipelines for the El Feel and El Sharara oilfields and the port of Zueitina, blocked for weeks by protests and disputes.

“Efforts being carried out by elders and mayors of local municipalities are still under way in order to reopen the closed oil fields. We expect good results soon,” said NOC spokesman Mohamed Harari.

The OPEC country is caught in a dispute between two rival governments, one internationally recognized in the east and a self-declared one that controls Tripoli, since a group called Libyan Dawn took over the capital last year.

Before the 2011 civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya produced 1.6 million barrels per day. It is now less than half that figure. Officials rarely release national production figures, but one recent estimate put it at 500,000 bpd.

Negotiations to reopen oilfields and ports in Libya often drag on as the oil industry is constantly under siege from protesters seeking jobs or armed factions trying to pressure their rivals or central authorities.

U.N. talks with the two main warring factions are continuing in an attempt to form a unity government in a power-sharing deal Western powers hope will end the crisis. Libya’s turmoil has allowed Islamist militants and migrant smugglers to flourish.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by David Holmes

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