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Libya Remains a Problem Case for OPEC

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that as of December 2021, approximately 0.4 million barrels per day of crude oil production in Libya had been cut.

Libyan production averaged about 1.2 million barrels per day in 2021, but this dropped to an average of 1.1 million barrels per day in December. Political unrest in the country is the main issue at the moment, which led to the takeover of 4 key oil fields by armed militants. Since then, the oil fields have been offline, including the Sharara oil field. Overall, it is estimated that oil output in the country will be nearly 400k barrels per day lower.

In addition to the political turmoil, there is still unending maintenance work on the aging oil production facilities. This also further depresses oil production in the country.

With the Libya factor, not to forget the Kazakhstan problem, the EIA estimates that OPEC had about 2.2 million barrels per day of production outages in December 2021.

These factors are the main drivers in BRENT prices which rose from an average of $74 per barrel in December to just short of the $89 mark in mid-January. On Friday (January 21, 2022), the BRENT price closed at $87.74 per barrel.

Goldman Sachs analysts see the BRENT price rising even further in 2022, estimating that the BRENT price will exceed $100 per barrel in the second half of the year. They raise their forecast for BRENT crude to $105 per barrel.

Despite all the problems, EIA predicts that OPEC will increase its crude oil and fuel production by 2.7 million barrels per day to 34.3 million barrels per day.

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