Libya's oil exports surge in Dec : NOC source

Reuters, Wednesday 14 Dec 2011

Libya says its oil exports is forecast to reach 500,000 barrels a day in December, but this increase is not expected to hold sway over the outcome of the OPEC meeting on Wednesday

Libya's oil exports will surge to over 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, a senior source at the country's National Oil Corporation (NOC) told Reuters on Wednesday.

The NOC plans to export 24 cargoes in December, having finalised deals this week to sell three more cargoes towards the end of the month. November exports averaged around 227,000 bpd.

The latest three shipments to sold via tender were of Sirtica, Mellitah and Bouri crude, and priced against the global benchmark Brent contract.

In a recent forecast sent to clients, Libya's NOC said it expected oil flows to top 800,000 bpd in December, exceeding most forecasts after output fell to a near standstill as result of the civil war that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

Less than three months have passed since the first cargo of freshly pumped Libyan crude was offered to the market, and flows are recovering more rapidly than expected.

But the pace of Libya's rising oil exports will not necessarily hold sway over the outcome of an OPEC meeting on Wednesday, in which a production limit may be reset for the first time in three years.

Saudi Arabia has said it will respond to demand for its oil rather Libyan oil flows, the leading OPEC producer's oil minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters on Wednesday.

"If Libya increases, it doesn't necessarily mean Saudi will cut," said Naimi at the start of an OPEC meeting.

"We don't react to that, we react to market demand," he said.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ministers will consider a new supply target of 30 million barrels daily, roughly in line with current production.

Libya says it expects exports to have returned to pre-war levels of 1.345 million bpd by the fourth quarter of 2012.

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