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Libyan Crude Oil Said to Be Offered for Shipping This Month

Libyan Crude Oil Said to Be Offered for Shipping This Month
Refining towers and fuel storage tanks are seen at the Zawiya oil refinery near Tripoli. Photographer: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg

An 80,000 metric-ton cargo of Libyan crude is being offered for shipment from the western port of Mellitah this month, according to three people with direct knowledge of the transaction.

The oil, equal to about 600,000 barrels, will be loaded from Sept. 15 to 17, the people said, declining to be identified because the consignment has not been publicly announced. Libya wants to resume crude exports in two to three weeks, Guma El-Gamaty, the U.K. coordinator for the country’s National Transitional Council, said in an interview in London today.

Libyan crude output slumped to 60,000 barrels a day in July from 1.7 million in January, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. The collapse contributed to a 21 percent rally in oil prices in London this year, and prompted the IEA to coordinate a global release of emergency stockpiles in June to compensate for the lost supply.

The nation, formally led by Muammar Qaddafi, resumed operations at its 120,000 barrel-a-day Zawiyah refinery near the capital Tripoli about two weeks ago, El-Gamaty said today. The plant is processing 30,000 barrels a day and will reach full capacity in six to eight weeks, he said. The eastern crude export facility in Tobruk is undamaged, he said.

The transitional government will name a new cabinet next week and appoint a separate oil minister, El-Gamaty said. At the moment Ali Tarhouni is the council’s oil and finance minister.

“The whole world is now dealing with the NTC as a legitimate government,” El-Gamaty said. All existing oil contracts with international oil companies will be honored, he said. Under Qaddafi’s rule, Libya invited international oil companies to boost the country’s exports after production stagnated in the 1990s amid economic sanctions.

Output increased to as much as 1.87 million barrels a day in 2008 from 1.38 million barrels in 2002, according to U.S. Energy Department data.

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