France's Total restarts Libyan oil production
French oil giant Total announced Friday it had restarted production from an offshore oil platform off Libya, making it the first major to return to work since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi.
A company spokesman told AFP production had restarted at the Al Jurf platform which lies around 100 kilometres (60 miles) from western Libya's coast in the Mediterranean.
Earlier Total said production was set to resume over the weekend at Al Jurf, which Total operates in a joint venture with the Libyan state oil company and the German firm Wintershall.
The first oil exports should resume in around two weeks and it will likely take several weeks for production to reach full capacity, said the spokesman.
Before the uprising erupted against Kadhafi's rule Al Jurf produced around 40,000 barrels per day.
Its operators shut it down in March as fighting raged across the country and the international community slapped sanctions on the regime's exports.
The European Union has now lifted its sanctions to allow Libya's new former rebel government to restart the country's most important export industry and begin the job of rebuilding.
Total said it would take "a few weeks" before Al Jurf is back to full production. It is operated by Mabruk Oil, a joint venture 50 percent owned by the National Oil Corporation, 37.5 percent by Total and 12.5 by Winstershall.
Before the war Libya produced around 1.6 million barrels of crude per day. One local firm, Arabian Gulf Oil from the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, restarted production 10 days ago, and other firms plan to do so.
© 2011 AFP