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Libya’s oil production has jumped to around 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) this week after the country’s largest oilfield resumed pumping crude over the weekend, sources with knowledge of the operations told Bloomberg on Friday.
The return of Libyan oil to the market has weighed on oil prices in recent weeks, after the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar—whose troops, with help from affiliated groups, had blockaded Libya’s oil ports in January—announced the end of the port blockades on September 18.
Even the OPEC+ group is closely monitoring the supply increase from Libya, which is exempted from the production cuts and could derail the alliance’s efforts to prop up oil prices and the plans to have the ongoing cuts eased by another 2 million bpd as of January.
Libya’s production was already exceeding 300,000 bpd last week, before the National Oil Corporation (NOC) announced this past weekend that it had lifted the force majeure on the largest Libyan oilfield, Sharara, after reaching an agreement with the Petroleum Facilities Guard to “end the entire obstacles that face Al Sharara Field in a way that guarantees there will be no security breaches and in a way that enables the National Oil Corporation to lift the force majeure status and resume production in Al Sharara Oil Field.”
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Sharara—whose production capacity exceeds 300,000 bpd—currently pumps around 110,000 bpd.
According to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, Libya’s oil exports have picked up the pace this month and have so far averaged 385,000 bpd. This compares to 213,000 bpd exported in September. Since the lifting of the blockade in the middle of September, most of Libya’s exports have come from the full storage tanks at ports, not from crude oil that has been just pumped.
Production at the 70,000-bpd El Feel oilfield, which is linked to Sharara and typically follows closely the biggest field in reopening, is also set to restart soon, Bloomberg’s sources say.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.