(Adds national production figure, background)
BENGAHZI, Libya, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) said on Monday that its production had risen to 320,000 barrels per day (bpd), up from about 290,000 bpd late last week, helping to push the country’s production above 500,000 bpd.
The increase followed a rise in production at the Sarir field to around 200,000 bpd, and as production at Nafoura reached 29,000 bpd, AGOCO spokesman Omran al-Zwai said. He said AGOCO could reach its year-end target of 350,000 bpd if the Bayda field came back on line.
AGOCO, a subsidiary of the Libya’s National Oil Company that operates mainly in eastern Libya, has roughly doubled production since forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized blockaded oil terminals last month and the NOC said it would reopen them for exports.
Conflict, militant attacks and political and labour disputes had dramatically reduced Libya’s output from the 1.6 million bpd the OPEC member was producing before a 2011 uprising. Some oil facilities have been badly damaged.
Before Haftar’s forces seized the oil ports production was dipping as low as 200,000 bpd.
Ibrahim Alawami, head of the NOC’s measurement department, said it was hoped that national production, which was between 450,000 and 490,000 bpd last week, would increase further at the end of the month.
Alawami did not give a target, but NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla has said he hopes to raise output as high as 900,000 bpd by the end of the year.
Sanalla has also said that new funding for the NOC’s operating budget and the reopening of blockaded pipelines in western Libya would be necessary to reach that goal.
Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman