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Libyan crude output highest since Jul 2013 at 'more than 1 mil b/d,' says NOC chairman

Algiers — Libya's crude oil production is currently at its highest in more than five years despite current security challenges, the chairman of the state-owned National Oil Corporation said Sunday.

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Mustafa Sanalla, speaking to reporters ahead of an OPEC/non-OPEC monitoring committee meeting, said that production is the "highest since July 2013" without providing the exact figure but he said it was more than "1 million b/d."

Sanalla also would not give more details on the current security situation in the country, which remains volatile.

Libyan oil production has seen a rollercoaster ride after production was almost halved earlier this summer due to fighting between rival armed groups at key oil export terminals.

Last week, NOC warned that the country's oil and gas output at the Wafa field could be shut down due to a blockade that was initiated by the Libyan state guards at the airport connected to the field.

Two weeks ago, NOC's headquarters in Tripoli were attacked with two employees killed and serious damage being done to the office premises.

Sanalla was evacuated from the building during the assault, and a number of staff were briefly held hostage before the entire HQ was retaken by government security forces.

National elections planned for December further add to the unpredictability and uncertainty of Libya's oil sector.

Despite this backdrop Libyan exports have been very high. Preliminary tanker data shows that exports from the North African country were more than 1 million b/d for the first half of September, up from just under 900,000 b/d in August, according to S&P Global Platts trade flow software cFlow.

The 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery is shut this month due to power issues, freeing up more barrels for export.

--Staff reports,

--Edited by Maurice Geller,