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Libyan oil wells back in production for first time since outbreak of war

However the flow of gas supplies may not resume for another month.

Image: AP Photo/Hasan Jamali

LIBYA HAS RESUMED oil production for the first time since the civil war, tapping 15 wells and producing some 31,900 barrels per day, Italian energy giant Eni said today.

Eni said production had resumed at the Abu-Attifel fields, about 300 kilometres south of the city of Benghazi. Other wells would be reactivated soon to reach the “required volumes to fill the pipeline” between the Abu-Attifel field and the Zuetina port.

The operations are being conducted by Mellitah Oil & Gas, a partnership between Eni and Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp.

Before the protests against Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi in mid-February morphed into a full-scale civil war, Eni was producing 273,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Libya. The country sits atop Africa’s largest proven reserves of conventional crude.

With a small population of only 6 million, Libya raked in $40 billion last year from oil and gas exports. Experts say it could take about a year or more to get back to its pre-war production of 1.6 million barrels a day.

Earlier this month, Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni visited Tripoli to lay the groundwork for relaunching gas exports to Italy via the Greenstream pipeline, which can carry roughly 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. It hasn’t been operational since late February.

Scaroni has set 15 October as an optimistic deadline to restart the gas flow.

Read: Mass grave with bodies of over 1,200 prisoners reported in Libya >

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Associated Press

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