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Libya Ramps Up Oil Production Just as Market Was Rebalancing

Libya Hariga Export Terminal

Following a deal to temporarily bandage a power-sharing dispute while Libya works towards installing a government of national accord, the reopening of the eastern Hariga port has allowed Libya to increase crude production to over 300,000 barrels per day.

Exports from the Hariga port resumed on 19 May. Production is now expected to increase to up to 360,000 bpd ‘soon’, according to the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC), speaking to reporters on Monday.

Related: Key Pipeline Could Unleash Alberta’s Oil Sands

The additional increase in production will depend on progress at the Sarir oil field, as well as the availability of electricity, an NOC official said.

The eastern port of Hariga had been under a three-week blockade over rival government wrangling, sending exports down to 200,000 bpd. On 19 May, the first shipment of 650,000 barrels was being loaded for Glencore, en route to the United Kingdom, according to Bloomberg.

Production had been blocked from the eastern oilfields of Messla and Sarir.

Related: Is OPEC A U.S. National Security Threat?

Before the ouster of Gaddafi in 2011, Libya was producing 1.6 million bpd. Factions loyal to the eastern government in Tobruk, and the parallel National Oil Company in Benghazi, have been in control of the Hariga port, which has been under blockade since the Benghazi NOC unsuccessfully attempted to unilaterally export oil late last month.

Last week, after talks in Vienna, the rival NOCs reached an agreement in principle to resume shipments at talks held in Vienna. This deal has now apparently been implemented, allowing for the first shipment to be loaded; however, the details of the deal have not been made public, which also means that beyond this first shipment, it remains unclear whether the status of the port has been resolved.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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