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Angola Oil Production May Exceed Nigeria to Become Africa’s Largest Producer

Libya’s biggest producing oil field stopped pumping crude, deepening a reduction in OPEC output amid production cuts from Saudi Arabia and disruptions to Nigeria exports.

Libya halted the Sharara oil field as a precaution after a rocket attack on the connected Zawiya refinery two days ago, closing down about 30 percent of national output. In Africa’s largest oil producer, state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. was in talks to prevent a strike that threatened to disrupt exports. Saudi Arabia told the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that in August it made the deepest production cut in 18 months.

Brent crude futures declined 13 percent in the past three months, falling to a two-year low of $96.21 a barrel on Sept. 15. Global oil demand growth is the slowest since 2011, while the U.S. shale boom means oil production outside OPEC is rising by the most since the 1980s, according to the International Energy Agency. Brent rebounded to $99.05 on Sept. 16 after OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla al-Badri said the group may need to reduce output next year, and traded near that level Wednesday.

“Libya, Nigeria show us to be cautious,” Miswin Mahesh, an analyst at Barclays PLC, said by phone from London. “The Saudi cuts in August helped to balance the market slightly. We’re not out of the woods yet, but it is certainly a beginning.”

Libya’s output had recovered after rebels lifted a yearlong blockade of eastern oil ports in July, which had diminished the North African nation to the rank of OPEC’s smallest member.

- Jess Potts
The Daily Star
Published on:
September 17, 2014
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