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Libya’s Oil Company Prepares To Reopen A Major Export Hub

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) is ready to lift the force majeure at the oil port of Es Sider, allowing a tanker to load crude oil from storage, the state oil firm said on Wednesday.

NOC placed the oil terminals at Hariga, Brega, Zueitina, Es Sider, and Ras Lanuf under force majeure at the beginning of this year, after forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar occupied Libya's oil export terminals and oilfields.

The blockade at the ports is now in its seventh month, but parties are currently negotiating the re-opening of the oil terminals and the restart of oil production, which had plummeted to just 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared to 1.2 million bpd before the blockade.

NOC "calls on all Libyan parties to support the corporation and allow a tanker on standby at Es Sider oil port to start loading crude oil from storage. NOC also demands that foreign mercenaries and armed groups leave Es Sider port immediately," the state oil firm said today.

"There is an urgent need to restart the production as soon as possible to stop the damage to Libyan oil infrastructure and to protect the NOC's vital assets from further deterioration and collapse," NOC noted, after warning earlier this week that Libya's oil production could halve in the coming years if the blockade is not lifted soon.

So far this year, Libya has lost revenues worth $6.5 billion because of the blockade on its ports and oil production, NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said on Tuesday. The country also faces costs for workover of up to 260 wells, and maintenance and repair at the surface equipment at the oilfields, he added.

The potential imminent return of Libyan barrels on the global oil market is set to give the OPEC+ group another conundrum to solve just as its record 9.7-million-bpd collective cut is set to ease to 7.7 million bpd from August 1.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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