Libya Crude Output Rises as Oil Fields Restart, Ports Reopen

  • Tanker Seadelta resumes loading at Ras Lanuf port in east
  • Amal field restarts output after halt since last year

Libya boosted crude production by more than 70 percent since August as some oil fields resumed output and export terminals in the OPEC country reopened for their first overseas loadings in two years.

The North African nation’s crude output rose to 450,000 barrels a day after work resumed at some oil fields, Ibrahim Al-Awami, head of oil measurement department at state-run National Oil Corp., said by phone on Tuesday. Armed conflicts and political disputes have hobbled the country’s production, which slid to 260,000 barrels a day last month, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The tanker Seadelta returned to take on crude at the port of Ras Lanuf after interrupting loading and sailing away due to fighting at the facility earlier this week, Nasser Delaab, petroleum operations inspector at Harouge Oil Operations, said by phone. The shipment would be the first from Ras Lanuf since 2014. Harouge started to pump oil at the eastern Amal field at a rate of 3,500 barrels a day, and the crude will be shipped to the port of Zueitina, he said.

Libya is seeking to ramp up crude exports after fighting among rival militias crushed oil production following the 2011 ouster of former dictator Moammar Al Qaddafi. Earlier this month, the NOC ended measures that had curbed exports from the nation’s main oil ports of Es Sider, Zueitina and Ras Lanuf amid the country’s struggle to form a unified national government.

Oil Reserves

Libya, if it succeeds in shipping the Seadelta cargo, will be selling into an oversupplied market in which crude is trading at about half its 2014 levels. Benchmark Brent crude was down 1.6 percent at $45.24 a barrel on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in Dubai. The country holds Africa’s largest oil reserves and pumped 1.6 million barrels of crude a day before Qaddafi’s ouster. 

Another tanker, the Syra, will arrive in Ras Lanuf to ship 600,000 barrels of crude to Italy, Delaab said. The Syra was at sea near the port on Tuesday, according to tanker tracking data available on Bloomberg.

Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Co. boosted output to 215,000 barrels a day from 145,000 barrels a day after the removal of force majeure on exports from Zueitina, Agoco spokesman Omran al-Zwai said by phone. Force majeure is a legal status protecting a party from liability if it can’t fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control.

Harouge pumped about 100,000 barrels a day through the end of 2014 but halted operations due to fighting in the country, Delaab said. The company has production rights to at least five oil fields around Ras Lanuf, according to its website.

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