Libyan officials attached to the government in Tripoli are warning that the country will have to halt the majority of its output from southeastern fields within a month’s time as the Hariga port remains under blockade over an export dispute between rival governments.
Fields in the south-east which provide the majority of the Libyan oil output will be shut down in a month unless blockade on the Mediterranean Sea terminal Marsa el-Hariga if lifted, officials in Tripoli have warned on Tuesday.
Factions loyal to the eastern government in Tobruk, and the parallel National Oil Company in Benghazi, have been in control of the Hariga port, which is under blockage since the Benghazi NOC unsuccessfully attempted to unilaterally export oil late last month. Related: Oil Prices Rally As Canadian, Nigerian Outages Continue
“In less than four weeks we will have to shut production completely because the tanks at Hariga will be full,” Mohamed Harari, a spokesman for the National Oil Company, said in an e-mailed statement late on Monday. "The blockade will cause serious harm and bring no benefits.”
Oil production has already collapsed by a whopping 80 percent following the violent removal of former dictator Muammar Ghaddafi.
Due to the eastern factions’ decision to block shipments, production at the oil fields Messla and Sarir has been decreased by almost one-third, dropping to 90,000 barrels a day from 240,000 barrels. Related: What OPEC Has To Fear From The New Saudi Oil Minister
"The worst thing is this blockade will achieve nothing," NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement. "In terms of legitimacy, which is what the blockaders want, it is a dead end."
The oil shipments through Marsa el-Hariga account for three quarters of the country’s exports and the scenario of oil production brought to a halt doesn’t bode well for a country far from being stabilized politically and economically. However, as it faces being sidelined by a national unity government, this is exactly the leverage the eastern government and the eastern NOC is hoping to gain through the unilateral exports and the port blockade.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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