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Libya Reopens Second Oil Terminal Under Haftar Leadership

Oil tanker

Libya’s Zueitina oil terminal is bidding farewell to its first oil-filled tanker since late last year on Thursday, according to a port official cited by The Libyan Express.

The 800,000-barrel cargo left for China, the official said.

The port is one of three of its kind that had been blockaded before Khalifa Haftar took them over last month.

Ras Lanuf exported its first oil shipment in two years last month. The port had been closed since December 2014.

Es Sider, the last port to remain closed, has yet to restart shipments due to damages the site suffered during the war.

Libyan oil production has increased since the Haftar conquered the terminals. Before the North African country’s civil war began in 2011, the OPEC member produced 1.6 million barrels per day.

On Thursday, a Libyan oil official said production stood between 505,000 and 510,000 barrels per day.

When Haftar took over the ports last month, the country produced 200,000-300,000 barrels per day.

Haftar has said he would leave all three ports in the control of the National Oil Corporation, which aims to raise output to 900,000 barrels per day by the end of 2016. The company said reaching this goal would depend on operating costs and the reopening of blocked pipelines.

Time and again the market has swung on just the possibility of Libya restarting oil exports. Now that Saudi Arabia has agreed to exempt Libya, along with Nigeria and Iran, from an OPEC production freeze deal, the country has ramped up production.

The increase in production could reverse the effects of production cuts enforced by other members of the organization, but details on which member country will cut how much output have yet to be decided on.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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