The welcome news that Libya’s oil production has surpassed 700,000 b/d has been tempered by a warning from the state electricity company that the country could be on the verge of a total blackout, and by a government statement saying that its efforts to combat smuggling may result in a declaration of force majeure on two ports.

Crude output has hit a three-year high of 708,000 b/d according to a statement by Mustafa Sanalla, head of state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC), on 8 January. Output was up to 685,000 b/d at the beginning of the month (MEES, 6 January), from 622,000 b/d on 26 December and average December output of about 600,000 b/d. NOC plans to increase output to around 850,000 b/d by early February and more than 950,000 b/d by the end of March. Ongoing instability in the country means that these targets will be hard to achieve, and the sustainability of current production remains fragile. (CONTINUED - 1065 WORDS)