After a three-week blockade of its eastern port of Hariga over rival government wrangling, Libya has now resumed exports from the port and could soon be ramping up to 300,000 barrels per day, adding another 100,000 bpd into the glut—just when things were balancing out.
Already late on Thursday, Libyan officials were saying that 650,000 barrels were in the loading process, according to Bloomberg—destination, United Kingdom. The tanker is loading crude for Glencore, on orders from the Tripoli-based National Oil Company (NOC).
Reuters is predicting that Libya—currently producing about 200,000 bpd—could quickly ramp up to 300,000 bpd with exports freed up. Related: Iran Closes In On Saudis As Oil Exports Soar
The news agency noted that when the Hariga port was blocked, it led to reduced production from two eastern fields—Messla and Sarir.
Before the ouster of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was producing 1.6 million bpd.
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 has been under blockade since the Benghazi NOC unsuccessfully attempted to unilaterally export oil late last month. Related: Despite Low Oil Prices, Kuwait Plans To Invest $42 Billion By 2022
Earlier this month, Libyan oil officials in Tripoli had warned that if the blockade continued, output from the eastern fields would be shut down completely.
Last week, after talks in Vienna, the rival NOCs reached an agreement in principle to resume shipments at talks held in Vienna. This deal has now apparently been implemented, allowing for the first shipment to be loaded; however, the details of the deal have not been made public, which also means that beyond this first shipment, it remains unclear whether the status of the port has been resolved.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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