Austrian energy giant OMV said Thursday its oil production in Libya now stands at 60% of the pre-war level, up from 30% in November.

"At the moment production is 19,000 barrels a day, around 60% of the pre-war level," with output rising sharply in recent months as Libya recovers from the conflict that ousted Moammar Gadhafi, spokesman Sven Pusswald said.

The comment tallies with that of other Western companies extracting Libya’s highly sought-after low-sulfur crude, with Italy’s Eni SpA (E) saying recently that output was now at 70% of pre-crisis levels.

OMV Chief Executive Gerhard Roiss had said in December that production levels would reach prewar levels in 12-15 months, a target that Pusswald said the firm was sticking to for now.

In 2010, Libya’s capacity was just short of 1.7 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil Minister Abdel Rahman bin Yezza recently predicted production would be back to normal in the second half of 2012.

OMV, which relies on Libya for around 10% of its oil output, recently sent its general manager for the country back to the North African state, but he is only staying there for a few days at a time for safety reasons.

"The situation is still too unstable and is being constantly assessed," Pusswald said.

Source: Dow Jones & Rigzone