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Libya’s oil production has more than tripled since the port blockade has been lifted, reaching around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) after the restart of another oilfield in the country, creating a new headache for fellow OPEC members who are trying to rebalance the market while demand is still weak.
The 200,000-bpd Sarir oilfield resumed operations on Tuesday, Bloomberg quoted the operator Arabian Gulf Oil Co (Agoco) as saying. The field is currently pumping just 30,000 bpd, but it took Libya’s total production to nearly 300,000 bpd, up from less than 100,000 bpd before the blockade was lifted in the middle of September.
The head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, whose troops, with help from affiliated groups, had blockaded Libya’s oil ports in January, announced the end of the blockade on September 18.
A week after the blockade was lifted, Libya was producing around 250,000 bpd as of Sunday.
As of Wednesday, Libya’s oil terminals at Hariga, Brega, and Zueitina continue to be open for business and are welcoming tankers to ship oil, although the biggest port and the terminal typically exporting the oil from the biggest oilfield in the country are still under force majeure.
The 300,000-bpd Sharara oilfield, Libya’s largest, is still closed, as are the nearby El Feel oilfield with 70,000 bpd capacity and the Zawiya oil terminal typically exporting crude from Sharara.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has previously said that the oilfields would need repairs and time to resume pumping oil at full capacity.
Despite the fact that the return of a full 1 million bpd supply from Libya is not imminent and will likely take months, the African OPEC member exempted from the OPEC+ cuts could be a supply headache for the production group going forward, if the Libyan truce holds.
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.
It will take months if not a whole year to repair the damage and also maintenance work in Libya’s oil infrastructure before production reaches 1 million barrels a day (mbd).
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London