Libya has boosted crude production by more than 70 per cent since August as some oilfields 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 oilfields, Ibrahim Al Awami, the head of oil measurement department at the state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC), said on Tuesday. Armed conflicts and political disputes have hurt the country’s production, which was 260,000 barrels a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The tanker Seadelta returned to take on crude at the port of Ras Lanuf after interrupting loading and sailing away to safety due to the fighting earlier this week, said Nasser Delaab, the petroleum operations inspector at Harouge Oil Operations. 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 Zueitina port, he said.
Libya is seeking to increase crude exports after fighting among rival militias crushed oil production following the 2011 ousting of the former dictator Qaddafi. This month, 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.
Libya, if it succeeds in shipping the Seadelta cargo from Ras Lanuf, will be selling into an oversupplied market in which crude is trading at about half its 2014 levels. The country holds Africa’s largest oil reserves and pumped 1.6 million barrels of crude a day before Qaddafi’s ousting.
Another tanker, the Syra, would arrive in Ras Lanuf to ship 600,000 barrels of crude to Italy, Mr Delaab said. The ship was at sea near the port on Tuesday, according to tanker tracking data available on Bloomberg.
Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil boosted output to 215,000 barrels a day from 145,000 barrels a day after the removal of force majeure on exports from Zueitina, said the Agoco spokesman Omran Al Zwai. Force majeure is a legal status protecting a party from liability if it cannot fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control.
Harouge Oil pumped about 100,000 barrels a day through the end of 2014 but halted operations due to fighting in the country, Mr Delaab said. The company has production rights to at least five oil fields around Ras Lanuf, according to its website.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter