Tunisia’s beleaguered oil sector continued its downward spiral in 2020 on the back of forced output shutdowns, Covid-related operational disruptions and a lack of new projects. A quick glance at latest available crude stats suggests output - at 32,000 b/d for 11M20 - will once again have come in at its lowest level since Tunisia’s first year of production in 1966.

But if all goes well, 2021 could see a turnaround. The ministry of industry, energy and mines earlier this month said the offshore Halk El Menzel field started up on 7 January at a rate of 5,300 b/d. Operated by local firm Topic, production is expected to reach an initial 6,000 b/d from well ‘HELM 07.’ Another 5,000 b/d is targeted through two more wells by the end of March, which would bring overall output to 11,000 b/d – equal to around a third of Tunisia’s 2020 output. (CONTINUED - 629 WORDS)