Tunisia will have to try harder if it is to stem long-term oil and gas decline. In 1Q 2019 it managed to keep crude output level with 4Q 2018’s 37,700 b/d. But this was the second lowest quarterly figure in the last five decades: it was only lower in 3Q 2017 when protesters forcibly shut in southern fields demanding jobs and development funds (see chart and MEES, 2 June 2017).

While the industry ministry sees 2019 output reaching 44,400 b/d, up from 2018’s record-low 38,400 b/d, in reality it will be lucky to halt a further drop as much needed outside investment has been slow to materialize. Industry Minister Slim Feriani told parliament on 21 May that, with foreign firms not exactly “queuing up” to invest, Tunis needs to make the sector more attractive. (CONTINUED - 924 WORDS)