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Libya's Oil Production Slides Below 1 Million Bpd

Libya’s crude oil production fell further this week after a second company said it would have to reduce output by 100,000 bpd, just days after another company shut down production at some fields in response to the closure of the export terminal of Hariga.

Bloomberg reports that Sirte Oil Co., a subsidiary of the National Oil Corporation, told its parent today that it would have to slash production within 72 hours—but not because of the port of Hariga closure. Sirte Oil Co. wrote that the reason was its “very critical financial situation, the inability to fulfill contractual obligations to contractors, accumulation of debts and the lack of spare parts, fuel and chemicals required for the operations.”

The move follows the National Oil Corporation’s declaration of force majeure on oil exports from the port of Hariga, citing lack of funds for infrastructure repairs, pushing the country’s crude oil production below 1 million bpd for the first time in months.

“While the National Oil Corporation understands the motives of the suspension which is outside the control of the company and seeks an excuse for the government of National Unity due to the delay in approving the budget for the year 2021, it places full legal responsibility on the Central Bank of Libya, which refused to liquidate the financial arrangements approved in accordance with the decision of the former Government of National Accord,” NOC said in a statement.

Libya’s state oil company has been vocal in its criticism of the government and the central bank in their disbursement of funds to maintain oil fields and related infrastructure. Delays in the disbursement in these funds have caused lost profits in the past and are now once again costing NOC right when it was on track to recover oil production to levels comparable to those before the overthrow of Gaddafi.

The closure of the port of Hariga already led to a drop in Libya’s oil production from some 1.25 million bpd to less than 1 million bpd. Now the new well closures will cut it further to probably less than 900,000 bpd.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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