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Continued political turmoil in Libya, with opposing factions fighting over oil infrastructure, is hampering the resumption of production at the Al-Feel oil field, a day after the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) agreed to lift a two-year-long blockade on a major pipeline fed by the Al-Feel field.
A faction of the PFG prevented the restart of production at Al-Feel, an employee at Mellitah Oil and Gas told Reuters on Thursday.
“El Feel oil field is not operating yet because the petroleum facilities guards from the Tebu who guard the field rejected the reopening,” the worker said, as quoted by Reuters.
Just yesterday, the Rayayina Patrols Brigade of the PFG agreed to end the blockade on the Rayayina pipelines that carry oil to the Zawia refinery and Mellitah terminals in western Libya from both the Al-Sharara and Al-Feel oilfields, which have been shuttered since the pipelines were first blockaded in 2014.
Reopening the pipelines could add more than 400,000 barrels per day to Libya’s oil production, and according to Khalid Shakshak, the Head of the Audi Bureau, reopening the pipeline would solve 70% of Libya’s economic woes.
Libya was exempt from OPEC’s collective production cut because of the civil unrest and factions fighting over control of the oil pipelines and export terminals. The country significantly increasing its crude oil output could jeopardize OPEC’s targeted total production cap of 32.5 million bpd. But the unrest continues, and the PFG and the east-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of General Khalifa Haftar continue to fight over control of the oil ports.
According to secondary sources from OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report released on Wednesday, Libya’s November production was 575,000 barrels per day—up from 528,000 bpd in October, and up from 360,000 barrels per day in September.
Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) says it has plans to increase production to 900,000 bpd in the near future, and to 1.1 million bpd in 2017—but the pipelines that carry oil from these two fields are crucial to that success.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.