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Over 5,000 Feared Dead In Storm Daniel As Libya Reopens Ports

Libya’s four oil export ports reopened on Wednesday following their closure in the face of Storm Daniel, which swept through the Mediterranean, causing extensive damage in Libya’s east, where officials are reporting over 5,000 deaths. 

On Wednesday, the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) confirmed that the eastern oil export ports of Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Brega and Es Sider had all been reopened, with the exception of one mooring at Es Sida, which had been closed the week prior for maintenance.

While production was not affected, markets feared the removal of some 1 million barrels from export volumes as a result of Libya’s port closures. OPEC data for August showed that Libya produced approximately 1 million barrels of oil per day. 

The closure of Libya’s ports added to upwards oil price pressure on Monday and Tuesday in combination with the extension of production cuts by OPEC+ heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia. Brent hit a 10-month high on Tuesday. 

On Sunday, right before Storm Daniel hit Libya, the NOC had reported that output had reached 1.207 million barrels per day

An Interior Ministry spokesman for Libya’s eastern-based government said on Tuesday that the death toll in the eastern port city of Derna alone had reached 5,200 people and that number was expected to rise to more than 10,000. The spokesman said that international rescue teams were still working to recover bodies swept into the sea during the storm, the Libya Observer reported. 

“Bodies are lying everywhere – in the sea, in the valleys, under the buildings,” Hichem Abu Chkiouat, minister of civil aviation in the administration that controls the east, told Reuters by phone shortly after visiting Derna.

Libya’s interim prime minister, Abdulhamid Dbeibah of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) declared a state of emergency in the affected areas on Monday, along with a 3-day mourning period. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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