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COVID-19 Forces Libyan Oil Companies To Halt Operations

Two of Libya’s National Oil Company affiliates on Monday sent some oil workers home and halted some work due to the spread of Covid-19, according to a NOC statement.

Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) has suspended all work for 30 days “to protect workers from the pandemic”, NOC said on Monday. Libya’s largest refinery, Zawiya is placing 10% of its staff on emergency leave.

Zawiya processes 120,000 barrels per day, and supplies western and southern Libya with fuel.

The moves are precautionary, the companies said, and not the result of any outbreak of the coronavirus among its oil workers.

Libya’s oil industry has already taken a severe hit after paramilitary formations affiliated with the LNA of General Khalifa Haftar occupied oil export terminals and oilfields earlier this year, with production ultimatley falling to 100,000 barrels per day. This is down from 1.2 million barrels per day at the start of the year.

While the production outage in oil-ich Libya has been a boost for OPEC’s production cut efforts designed to drawdown global oil inventories, it has cut off nearly all oil revenue to the country and resulted in extensive blackouts in the country.

Libya’s oil terminals have been closed for some time, which has caused the massive blackouts because the condensate reservoirs at the export ports are now filled to the brim, and there is nowhere to put the gas that is the byproduct of condensate. 

Libya reported an additional 1,080 cases of Covid-19 on Monday, according to official figures cited by Reuters, bringing its total number of cases to more than 18,800. It is the highest number of virus cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

More than half of those new infections were from persons located in Tripoli and the surrounding suburbs.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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