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Oil Pipeline Leak Could Force Libya To Shut In 60,000 Bpd Of Production

Libya may need to shut in around 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production after a pipeline connecting an oilfield and an oil terminal leaked, sources told Arab energy outlet Attaqa on Tuesday.

The 32-inch pipeline carrying crude from the Al-Samah oilfield to the Es Sider port has leaked, and some of the oilfield’s production may need to be shut in. Currently, production at Al-Samah is estimated at around 285,000 bpd, according to Attaqa.

The pumping operations at the field may need to be stopped, an oil engineer at the site and a source at the company operating Al-Samah, Waha Oil Company, told Reuters

A previous leak in the pipeline was controlled on Monday, but it leaked again today, the engineer told Reuters.

Due to insufficient investment in the repair and maintenance of oil infrastructure, Libya has had to contend with pipeline leaks in recent years.

A leak forced the shutdown of an oil pipeline carrying crude to the Es Sider oil port in January, reducing the country’s oil production by as much as 200,000 bpd for a week.

Compared to last year’s eight-month-long blockade that crippled Libya’s oil production and exports, output has been relatively stable so far this year, but minor disruptions continued.

Related: U.S. Claws Back Millions From Pipeline Ransomware Attackers

Oil loadings at export terminals were disrupted in February after members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard stopped vessels from loading crude amid the strike over delayed salary payments.

In April, Libya’s crude oil production dipped below the 1 million bpd mark for several days after the Arabian Gulf Oil Company, a subsidiary of NOC, said in mid-April that it had decided to halt production because of the delays in the budget that is planned to allocate money to the oil firm to repair and maintain infrastructure and keep oil production online.  

Days later, NOC declared force majeure on the port of Hariga due to lack of funds for infrastructure repairs, pushing the country’s crude oil production below 1 million bpd for the first time in months as NOC was forced to suspend production at several fields.

In May, Libya is estimated to have raised its crude oil production compared to April, according to the monthly Reuters survey of OPEC’s production.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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