How soon can Libya get its oil to flow?
An undated picture, taken before the fall of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, shows a general view of an oil and gas field in Tripoli.
October 26th, 2011
08:57 PM ET

How soon can Libya get its oil to flow?

With former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi ousted and dead, Libya’s interim government seems confident the country can reach pre-war oil production levels soon. But not everyone is so optimistic.

Before the February uprising, Libya put out about 1.6 million barrels of oil each day. That’s 2% of the world’s daily oil production.

The oil stopped flowing during the civil war as foreign companies left without properly shutting down the oil infrastructure. It is estimated Libya is now producing about 350,000 barrels of oil per day, but Libya’s new leaders are anxious to get more oil flowing.

Some oil companies that operated wells and refineries in Libya before the war “expressed some skepticism regarding a restoration of production to full pre-war levels within the next six months,” according to Fadel Gheit, managing director of oil and gas research at the Oppenheimer & Co. investment bank and firm.

“Obviously, the whole country is in shambles … civil war, total anarchy. Nobody is in control,” Gheit said. “So it’s not, obviously, a situation that will encourage oil companies to hurry back to Libya anytime soon.”

Gheit said because European oil companies left Libya so quickly during the uprising, they didn’t place the drills and refineries in a state that would make them easy to start up again. In some cases, wells will have to be re-drilled.

The new leaders of Libya will have to invest in the dilapidated oil infrastructure to maximize production and increase the nation’s revenue. But their limited funds are also needed to rebuild the country in the wake of intense fighting. If they spend too much on one, they may not be able to get the other done.

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum:

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Filed under: Libya
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. drap

    It doesn't matter..the extremists would light up these refineries before letting the west get any of this oil... .

    October 26, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. peacan

    The Libian people marched across the country, taking their land back town by town, and just about to take over Gahdfi's own home town as well, when he was shot. The obvious choice is to get those wells flowing like Niagra Falls with a promise to those who would provide the man power to get this up and running with part of the profits in sales from the oil, make sense?
    The oil is key and to guard from a 2 faced war monger running their country again!

    October 26, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConTroll

      Now I know that's old Phil talking, you haven't had aan original thought since 2002.

      October 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. peacan

    Thanks drap, That CAN NOT HAPPEN the people have shed too much blood.
    Iran on the other hand could do better, even Donald Duck would be better than that sinister dope.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConTroll

      Sinister. ha ha ha...jjazz learned a new word...Simon Bar Sinister...LMFAO!

      October 26, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dragonex

    That is why Obama/Nato got involved. They want some of that oil. A deal will be made with Lybia for retribution for their "aide". Just a matter of time.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RUFFNUTT (kcmo resident and smoker of fine purple kush)

    MY CAMARO... despartely needs an oil change... i heard lybian oil is the best , slickest slicky oil there is...

    October 26, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. peacan

    @ dragonex
    France took the lead and canjoled the other European nations to join in.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chuns reef

    Hey drap,where you been? guess lack of surf is forcing you to keep up on current events,HA HA!

    October 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dragonex

    Should I have said Nato/Obama? Either way I feel their involvement comes down to the oil. Doesn't China get a lot of oil from there?

    October 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    The best choice would be the Libyan people themselves to profit more from the oil production instead of big oil turning huge profits while the actual residents of that country to get shafted.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Nato isn't Obama. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dragonex


    October 26, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. peacan

    I'll just say China is 'sitting pretty' about now, yea their not gonna have to worry anytime soon.

    October 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConTroll

      What, no lecture from Phil's Philly? Come on, blind zombie Jazzy Juice...we SEE suck as a dude, Cl i t Eastwood! ROTFLMFAO!

      October 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. - Rent this space -

    I for one am very interested to see what happens next. They may surpeise us all. But probably not.

    – My screen name can be yours for $19.99 per post. That's right, your corporate name on CNN discussion boards for only $19.99 per post. –

    October 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. drap

    @ chuns..from time to time I keep current by reading the paper,Im glad to see the Lybians get rid of that tool! BTW just got back from southern Oaxaca,six to eight foot barrels at La Barra,so no lack of waves..I'll be on the north shore in december,say hello to your sis for me HA HA... .

    October 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RUFFNUTT (kcmo resident and smoker of fine purple kush)

    WRONG!!!! everyone knows that chineese cars are built fast and quick... also they won't have the tight tolerences of ja-paneese cars...
    that means they are going to burn and use alot of oil...

    October 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
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