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Libya Reopens Oil Ports After Prolonged Halt

Libya reopened on Thursday all its oil loading terminals where operations were suspended for nearly a week due to inclement weather, S&P Global Platts reports, quoting a source close to the developments.

Libya’s crude oil production and exports have been severely disrupted since early December due to previous port closures courtesy of bad weather as well as security incidents and issues at the country’s largest oil field Sharara, which has been shut in since December 8.

As a result, Libya’s crude oil production in December plunged by 172,000 bpd from November—to 928,000 bpd from 1.1 million bpd, according to OPEC’s secondary sources in the cartel’s Monthly Oil Market Report released today. The drop in Libya’s oil production last month was the second steepest decline among OPEC producers after Saudi Arabia, which cut production by 468,000 bpd from November to 10.553 million bpd in December.

Libya’s oil ports were closed last Thursday due to bad weather, adding to the existing shut-in at Sharara and further disrupting Libyan oil exports.

The African OPEC member had to suspend port operations in early December, saying the disruption would lead to a 150,000-bpd shut-in because storage tanks at oil terminals were close to full capacity.

Over the past few weeks, Libya’s crude oil loadings have been delayed by between four and ten days, trading sources told Platts on Thursday. 

Related: Oil Markets Could See Deficit In 2019

Over the past year, Libya has recovered part of its oil production despite a huge port blockade in the summer of 2018 that basically shut in nearly all of its exports for weeks. The biggest oil field Sharara is currently under force majeure due to a blockade by tribesmen and members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard demanding payments to lift the blockade.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) produced an average of 1.107 million bpd in 2018, NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said earlier this month. Total revenues reached US$24.4 billion, the highest since 2013 and a 78-percent annual rise. If the security situation improves, Libya plans to pump 2.1 million bpd of crude oil by 2021, Sanalla said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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