Libya's oil exports currently around 150,000-200,000 bpd
October 31, 2013 - 8:15:24 am
SINGAPORE: Libya is exporting around 150,000-200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and hopes to restart shipments from its Mellitah port in the west within 10 days, a government official said on Thursday.
Libya's oil exports have plunged in recent weeks to around 10 percent of its capacity before the 2011 civil war broke as renewed protests halted operations at ports and fields.
Disruptions in the north African nation and rising unrest in Iraq are rekindling worries of supply disruption, partly helping push Brent to a one-month high of $112 a barrel earlier in October.
Oil investors are worried about supply because markets are already coping with a cut in Iranian exports by more than half due to sanctions imposed by the West against Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.
OPEC member Libya is producing around 250,000-300,000 bpd of crude, of which 100,000 bpd is being used domestically, with the rest being exported, Salah A. Ben Ali, manager of international cooperation at the oil and gas ministry, said on the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week conference.
Except Hariga "all other export terminals are closed", he said, adding shipments from the port are at 40,000-50,000 bpd.
Libya had brought exports back to around 450,000 bpd before the recent spate of protests, although that level was still far short of its pre-war export capacity of around 1.25 million bpd.
The latest shutdowns have extended the worst disruption in Libya's oil industry since the 2011 civil war. Only the offshore platforms, Bouri and Al Jurf, remain operational.
Oil is the main source of revenue for the North African country and the disruptions have cost the government billions of dollars.
The longer the disruptions last the harder it may become for the government to meet the demands of local interest groups who are blocking oil exports as a means of pressuring a government that has struggled to assert its authority in a country awash with guns and powerful militia.
The government in Tripoli has become increasingly isolated since early summer and has only limited resources to control disruptions outside the capital, as underscored by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's brief kidnapping last month. (Reuters)