Libya's Waha Oil May Halt Production as Clashes Keep Ports Shut

  • Waha is venture between state producer and foreign partners
  • Nation’s total crude output stable at 671,000 barrels a day

Production from Waha Oil Co., a venture between Libya’s state oil company and foreign partners, may be suspended Wednesday as clashes in the country’s eastern oil region keep the main export terminals out of service.

“Output from Waha Oil Co. continues to be reduced and may reach a complete halt within coming hours,” Jadalla Alaokali, a board member at National Oil Corp., said by phone.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard, a United Nations-backed force, said Tuesday it took control of oil installations at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the country’s largest and third-largest oil ports, following their seizure by the Benghazi Defense Brigades militia in early March. The ports had previously been controlled by eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Libya’s total crude output remains stable at 671,000 barrels a day as increases in production from other companies, including Arabian Gulf Oil Co., have countered the decline from Waha’s fields, according to Alaokali. “The ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are on alert and workers are kept to a minimum,” he said.

Libya has sought to boost crude exports after fighting among rival militias slashed oil production following the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Al Qaddafi. The conflict showed signs of calming in recent months, and oil output rose to about 700,000 barrels a day in February from 260,000 a day in August, according to Bloomberg estimates. That’s still well below the 1.6 million a day pumped before Qaddafi’s ouster.

Waha Oil is a joint venture between the NOC, Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips.

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