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Oil Tanker En Route To Libya’s Es Sider Diverted To Avoid Clashes

As Libya’s eastern oil ports are again threatened by clashes among various militias, an oil tanker that was set to load crude oil at Es Sider on Thursday has been diverted to another port in the west of the country, Bloomberg reported today, citing a person familiar with the issue.

The oil tanker Overseas Redwood, which was supposed to load 630,000 barrels of crude oil at Es Sider, has detoured and will be docking at Zawiya port, because factions fighting in the Oil Crescent for a week now have been keeping eastern oil terminals out of service, according to Bloomberg’s source.

In addition, Waha Oil Co - a joint venture between Libya’s National Oil Corporation and U.S. firms Hess Corp, Marathon Oil, and ConocoPhillips – has suspended production due to key ports being closed for nearly a week now, another source told Bloomberg.

The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by General Khalifa Haftar, has been fighting the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) faction in the Oil Crescent since last week. The latest fighting has led to Libya’s oil production dropping by 35,000 bpd to around 660,000 bpd and making oil ports victims of the militia clashes.

In September last year, the LNA took control of three oil export terminals in the Oil Crescent, wrestling them from the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), which is affiliated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord. Since then the oil ports had been gradually opened and handed over to the National Oil Corporation to manage.

Related: Iraq To Start Drilling In Highly Contested Persian Gulf

Now the PFG said earlier this week that it had retaken two of the eastern ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, after the Benghazi Defense Brigades – who had wrestled them from Haftar’s LNA - handed control over the ports to PFG.

The latest clashes at key oil infrastructure seriously undermine (again) Libya’s plans to increase its oil production and have it exceed 1 million bpd by the end of this year.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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