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Libya’s Largest Oil Field Resumes Production

Libya’s largest oil field, El Sharara, has resumed production after workers had shuttered the 270,000-bpd field on Wednesday, protesting over the lack of medical treatment for a co-worker who had died in an accident in a swimming pool at the field.

According to a statement by Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), Sharara resumed production which is expected to return to its usual output within three days.

The workers’ protest shuttered Sharara production on Wednesday, and before the strike, Libya was producing 827,000 bpd, the highest level since October 2014.

The resumption of Sharara production followed an emergency meeting on Thursday between NOC’s board of directors and the company operating Sharara, Akakus Oil Operations Company, in which NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla ordered the company to verify the ambulance services conditions and upgrade the medical services for employees.

At that meeting, Sanalla said that he sympathized with the workers, but “the critical financial position of the State and NOC’s commitments towards shipping contracts enforce the resumption of production.”

Libya’s crude oil production topped 800,000 bpd last month with the restart of Sharara and El Feel oil fields. The production rate is still far from the 1.6 million barrels the North African producer boasted before the 2011 civil war, but significantly higher than what it produced last year. For this year, the NOC plans to bring the total up to 1.32 million bpd, up from an earlier target of 1.1 million bpd. Related: Hydrocarbon King: U.S. Ranks No.1 In 2016

According to an S&P Global Platts survey from earlier this week, OPEC’s crude oil production increased by 270,000 bpd in May over April, to stand at 32.12 million bpd--the highest level since January this year--as exempt Libya and Nigeria saw their respective output sharply recovering.

Expectations are that output from Libya and Nigeria will continue to rise in the summer, which will be, for OPEC, a “tricky period in its attempt to accelerate the market’s rebalancing,” Platts said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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