Libyan oil production has reached 1.5 million barrels a day (b/d) and should hit the pre-revolution figure of 1.6 million b/d by mid-year according to Oil Minister Abdul-Rahman Ben Yazza. He was speaking at the opening of the 4th Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition today, Monday, at the downtown Tripoli International Fair ground.
The two-day conference and four-day exhibition is the first major commercial Libyan showcase event since the revolution and has drawn a massed brigade of foreign companies who were busy networking with new Libyan business faces and hopeful for contacts in the new Libya.
Confirming that the country will be looking to hand out new contracts, Ben Yazza told the conference that Libya would both upgrade and expand its oil and gas production facilities. There would be an increased, “extensive” exploration programme, he said. Major investment would also be put into developing Libyan human resources in the industry.
The country also intended to ensure transparency in the oil industry’s dealings.
NOC chairman Nuri Buruwin told the conference that gas production would continue to rise in the next three years, reaching a peak in 2015.
Libyan firms protest unfair foreign competition
Libyan firms fear they are being squeezed out of projects worth millions of dinars by foreign contractors, some of whom, it is alleged, are operating here illegally.
One Libyan business, the Architectural Company for Aluminium and Glass Works Ltd (ACAGW), has filed a complaint with the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministries of Industry and Economy, alleging that local firms are being discriminated against in favour of outside contractors.
ACAGW maintains that state-run organisations should be looking first to sign contracts with Libyan firms that have the specialisations that will allow them to undertake projects. The company also alleges that state concerns have been making deals with foreign companies that are not properly authorised to operate here.
It argues that greater transparency is necessary in the letting of contracts, through wider advertisement of Requests for Proposals and that thereafter, priority should be given to to local businesses that are eminently qualified to undertake the work.
ACAGW further demands that those foreign concerns that are authorised to be operating in Libya should be warned that they must not hire foreign subcontractors who are working here illegally.
ACAGW has protested that “fair and honest competition” is all the more necessary at this time, when existing Libyan companies need support and encouragement to re-establish themselves and start-ups are looking for commercial opportunities to grow.