France's Total to restart Libyan oil production this weekend

23rd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

French oil giant Total announced Friday it will restart production from an offshore oil platform off Libya within days, making it the first major to return to work since the fall of Moamer Kadhafi.

"We are going to restart production on Al Jurf this weekend," a spokesman said, referring to a field Total operates in a joint venture with the Libyan state oil company and the German firm Wintershall.

The Al Jurf platform lies around 100 kilometres (62 miles) from western Libya's coast in the Mediterranean, and before a revolution erupted against Kadhafi's rule it 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 the country.

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 ten days ago, and other firms plan to do so.

© 2011 AFP

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