Wintershall Libya production restart held back by infrastructure

8/27/2014

Wintershall Libya production restart held back by infrastructure

MIKAEL HOLTER

STAVANGER, Norway (Bloomberg) -- Wintershall AG, the oil and gas unit of German chemical group BASF SE, said a lack of infrastructure is the only thing holding it back from resuming onshore oil production at full capacity in Libya.

“We’re ready to start production almost any day,” Martin Bachmann, Wintershall’s executive director for exploration and production, told reporters Aug. 27 in Stavanger, on Norway’s west coast. “What we lack is the export infrastructure. One day it’s the harbors which are occupied; when they’re open, the pipelines aren’t available.”

Wintershall is waiting for Libya’s national oil company to confirm that the infrastructure is ready, he said. Production could then increase “fairly fast” to the pre-stoppage capacity of almost 100,000 bopd, Bachmann said.

Libya has spiraled into chaos as rival militias fought for power since the ouster of strongman Muammar Qaddafi in 2011. Wintershall’s onshore crude production was shut down in the summer of 2013 because of unrest, which blocked ports and other transport infrastructure, including pipelines.

The company said its operations and plans in Russia haven’t been affected by European Union and U.S. sanctions.

“There has been a negative spiral of sanctions, and I think we need to break that spiral,” Bachmann said. “There is no alternative to dialogue and cooperation.”

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