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Libya’s Crude Exports Slump As Bad Weather Shuts Four Oil Ports

Just as Libya partially recovered its oil production, bad weather forced the closure of four oil export terminals in the east—a sign that Libya’s crude exports in January will be much lower than in November, the last month of relatively stable and normal operations at its oilfields and oil ports.

The ports in eastern Libya—Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, and Hariga—were all closed on Saturday, and could remain closed until the start of next week, two sources told Bloomberg on Monday.  

The port closures due to bad weather add to Libya’s recent setbacks in production and exports, after the blockade on several oilfields in the west and the two ports, Zawiya and Mellitah, exporting crude from them.

On December 20, Libya declared force majeure on its oil exports after crude oil production had been shut in from four of Libya’s oilfields, including the largest 300,000-bpd El Sharara field. Other oilfields that are shut in include El Feel, Wafa, and Hamada. The oilfields were shut in by members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), which is tasked with protecting the oilfields, according to Libya’s NOC. The PFG reportedly closed a valve on a pipeline going from Sharara to the Zawiya port, and another valve from Wafa to Mellita.

The result of the port closures is that the daily crude oil exports in the first week of January slumped by 45 percent compared to the average crude export rates in December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apart from bad weather and blockades, Libya suffered in recent days from the shut-in of 200,000 bpd of crude oil production due to maintenance work on a pipeline. Libya’s oil production had slumped to 780,000 barrels per day early last week, before production was restored after the pipeline repairs were completed earlier than planned.

Currently, the OPEC member exempted from the OPEC+ production cuts pumps around 900,000 bpd, per Bloomberg estimates. This compares to 1.14 million bpd of crude oil in November 2021, according to the latest Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) from OPEC.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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