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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's proven crude oil reserves rose to 46 billion barrels in the first half of this year after adding 612 million barrels from new fields, local daily Oea said on Friday, quoting the country's top oil official.
OPEC member Libya has the biggest crude oil reserves in Africa.
"Libya's oil reserves will increase further in next months because the exploration efforts in the first half accounted for 40 percent of the hydrocarbons search programme for the year," Oea quoted Shokri Ghanem as saying.
"We expect the discovery of 20 additional oilfields this year," said Ghanem who is the chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and top energy official of his country which does not have an oil minister.
Oea, which said Libya made 65 oil and gas discoveries for 2009, did not give the number of new oil and gas fields discovered in the first six months of this year.
But NOC Website numbered the discovered gas and oil fields at 21, most of them by NOC's affiliates.
"The outcome of exploration activities by the companies resulted in the addition to Libya's proven reserves of 612 million barrels of oil and 1.06 trillion cubic feet of gas in the first six months of 2010," NOC added.
"That is the equivalent of the expected production of gas and oil by Libya for the whole of this year," it said.
The NOC Website did not report the levels of proven gas and oil reserves.
Oea put oil and gas reserves at "around 46 billion barrels and 55 trillion cubic feet" at the end of the first half of this year.