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Libya’s Oil Production Rises As Two Small Fields Resume Pumping

Libya’s oil production has been holding at around 1 million bpd for the past couple of weeks, rising slightly this week thanks to increased production at two small oilfields in the east, S&P Global Platts reported on Friday, citing sources and a spokesman for a western company.

Harouge Oil Operations, a joint venture of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) and PetroCanada, has increased production at the Amal oilfield to 25,000 bpd in recent days, up from just 8,000 bpd pumped in July and August due to maintenance, the sources told Platts.

Germany’s Wintershall, for its part, resumed production at the 50,000-bpd As-Sarah oil field at the end of August, with a gradual ramp-up of output.

“Production volumes are still depending on availability of external export pipelines and capacity of loading terminals,” a spokesman for Wintershall told Platts.

Both the Amal and As-Sarah oilfields ship crude from the Ras Lanuf terminal, whose storage tanks were badly damaged during the attack on Libya’s Oil Crescent in June that resulted in crippling the country’s oil production and exports in June and July. The crude oil storage capacity at Ras Lanuf has been reduced following the attacks, and the lower storage capacity could constrain oil exports.

Two weeks ago, Libya’s oil production hit 1 million bpd for the first time since early June when the attack on the oil terminals resulted in a port blockade and crippled Libya’s oil production.

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The port closure had blocked 850,000 bpd of Libya’s oil (nearly all Libyan production) from being exported from four ports for more than two weeks. This major disruption resulted in Libyan crude oil production slumping from 962,000 bpd in May to an average 721,000 bpd in June and further down to 664,000 bpd in July, according to OPEC’s secondary sources.

In recent weeks, Libya has recovered its oil production to 1 million bpd, but the fragile peace without attacks on oil infrastructure may not last long. Earlier this week, local media reports had it that Ibrahim Jadhran, who led the June attack, is now reportedly teaming up with tribes and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and with Chadian rebels to plan a new military operation, aiming to strike the oil region again.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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