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Two Libyan Ports Resume Operations After Protests Stopped Oil Loading

Two of Libya’s key oil export terminals have resumed loading crude on tankers, after protests had stopped operations earlier this week.

The Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil terminals resumed loading tankers on Friday, Reuters reported, quoting Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) and engineers at the ports.

However, loading operations and exports from a third oil port, Hariga, continue to be blocked due to protests.

The relative stability of Libya’s crude oil production and exports from recent months could abruptly end after protests erupted this week at several key crude terminals, including one that prevented a tanker from loading crude at the biggest oil port.

Protesters at the Es Sider terminal have derailed the loading of a Suezmax tanker, Yannis P, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The demonstrators were demanding that NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla resign.

The tension among Libya’s top oil officials escalated at the end of last month when Libyan Oil Minister Mohamed Oun said he had suspended NOC’s chairman Sanalla.

In a separate protest, graduates were protesting at the port of Tobruk in eastern Libya, demanding employment, Argus reported on Tuesday, citing Libyan shipping sources.

The protests at Libyan oil terminals come at a turbulent time for the oil industry of the OPEC member exempted from the OPEC+ cuts.

The tension between Oun and Sanalla has been growing since Oun was appointed oil minister in March in the government of national unity, which includes a post for an oil minister for the first time in five years.

Libya will struggle to keep its oil production at current levels if the country fails to resolve a long-running dispute over its budget, Oun told Bloomberg last month. The success of Libyan plans to boost oil production remains in jeopardy due to disagreements over the nation’s budget—the first national budget in nearly a decade.

According to secondary sources in OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report, Libya’s crude oil production averaged 1.165 million bpd in July, up from 1.163 million bpd in June.    

By Charles Kennedy For Oilprice.com

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