Italian oil giant halts production in Libya

AFP , Wednesday 16 Mar 2011

Firm still producing gas, claims it will be unaffected by crisis outcome

Italy's ENI, the biggest foreign energy major in Libya, said Wednesday it has halted oil production in the strife-torn nation but is still producing gas to supply some of the country's power stations.

Oil production has been stopped due to logistical problems with exports, ENI head Paolo Scaroni said on the margins of a parliamentary hearing in Rome.

"For the moment, the only activity that we are conducting regards the production of gas for the production of electricity," he said.

On Monday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report that Libyan oil production, usually around 1.6 billion of barrels a day, had almost ground to a halt due to the ongoing conflict.

ENI produced around 244,000 barrels of oil net a day in Libya in 2009.

Scaroni said the relationship between the Italian oil giant and Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) would not be affected by the outcome of the crisis in the North African country.

"Whatever the political system will be, the NOC has contracts and ties with us, so I don't see any reason why the ties have to be compromised," he said.

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