Libya's biggest port loading first oil tanker since clashes

Business Sunday 26/March/2017 15:39 PM
By: Times News Service
Libya's biggest port loading first oil tanker since clashes

Tripoli: Libya’s biggest oil terminal is loading its first tanker since fighting between armed groups earlier this month halted shipments from two ports in the country with Africa’s largest crude reserves.
The Suezmax vessel Demetrios, which can carry as much as one million barrels, is loading at the port of Es Sider for export to China, according to a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Fighting between rival groups erupted on March 3, disrupting output and forcing Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the country’s third-biggest terminal, to halt shipments. Operations at both ports restarted later this month after the clashes ended.
Libya’s oil production has climbed back to where it was before the battle for control of the ports forced Waha Oil Co. , which feeds Es Sider, to suspend output. The country is producing 700,000 barrels a day and targets 800,000 before the end of April, Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of state-run National Oil Corp., said on March 22. Waha, a joint venture between the NOC, Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, has resumed output and is pumping 60,000 barrels a day compared with 80,000 before the latest hostilities, Jadalla Alaokali, an NOC board member, said on March 23.
Exports from Es Sider are restarting as members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allied producers meet in Kuwait to discuss possibly extending an output-cuts deal beyond June. The more oil Libya pumps, the greater the pressure on its fellow Opec members as they seek to clear a global glut. The country produced 1.6 million barrels a day before a 2011 revolt sparked fighting that prompted foreign investors to withdraw, hobbling its oil industry.
The conflict had shown signs of calming in recent months, with oil output rising to 700,000 barrels a day in February from 260,000 a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Libya’s biggest oil field, Sharara, will increase output by 70,000 barrels a day in a few weeks, from 221,000 barrels a day currently, the NOC said. Sharara in the far west of the country is operated by Repsol SA.