Libya’s crude oil production rose to 900,000 bpd from 700,000 bpd after the completion of repair work on a pipeline, the country’s oil ministry said, as quoted by Bloomberg.
The pipeline that was being repaired links two oil fields to the Es Sider export terminal. Its shutdown for repairs took 200,000 bpd offline, which coincided with field outages caused by blockades that shaved off more barrels from Libya’s total.
Before the outages and the pipeline shutdown, Libya was producing between 1.25 and 1.3 million bpd, but the latest events brought this down to less than 800,000 bpd temporarily.
More outages are not out of the question, however. Libya’s oil infrastructure has suffered years of neglect, and the field shutdown for the pipeline repairs is unlikely to be the last one. As the chairman of the National Oil Corporation said earlier this month, the country’s oil infrastructure has been a casualty of years of illegal closures and financial problems that are yet to be solved.
In addition to more repairs likely to affect production, the dispute between the government and the Petroleum Facilities Guard is still not settled, suggesting that the field outages may continue. The PFG shut in production from four fields in December, including Libya’s top producer, El Sharara, which has the capacity to produce 300,000 bpd.
The reason for the blockade is, once again, delays in salary payments, according to the PFG, which, as the name suggests, is supposed to be guarding oil facilities. During Libya’s civil war, however, the PFG evolved into yet another paramilitary group in the conflict-torn country.
Despite the complex political and social situation, the NOC has been putting a lot of effort into boosting oil production, especially while Libya is exempt from the OPEC+ production cuts. Plans are to increase the total to 1.4 million bpd, although with all the disruptions, it will likely take longer than the NOC hopes.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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