Libyan oil output up to 896,000 bpd as Sharara and El Feel resume

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TUNIS (Reuters) – Libyan oil output was 896,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Tuesday, the National Oil Corp (NOC) media office said after a blockade by petroleum guards ended, but the company also said bad weather had halted exports from Es Sider port.

Armed groups affiliated with the Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) had stopped production at the Sharara, El Feel and Wafa fields last month, but output resumed on Monday as the interim government announced a deal with the groups.

NOC told traders in a letter seen by Reuters on Tuesday that it had lifted force majeure on exports from the three oilfields.

However, Libya’s oil sector remains extremely vulnerable to both local unrest and wider political jostling after last month’s failed presidential election, which has raised questions over the fate of the internationally recognised unity government.

Any wider breakdown in stability or return to war could tempt groups to shut down output again to put pressure on Tripoli, as eastern-based forces did for much of 2020 when nearly all exports were halted for months.

Adding to the concerns, NOC also says a lack of funds risks further shutdowns to production or exports. Last year it halted exports from Hariga port for weeks, saying its subsidiary that operates the terminal had not received any state funding.

On Tuesday it said the suspension of exports from Es Sider because of bad weather was also partly owing to a lack of storage capacity resulting from war damage and inadequate funds.

It said in a statement that its Waha Oil Co, which exports oil through Es Sider, has reduced production by 50,000 bpd and that its total reduction in output could reach 105,000 bpd if the bad weather continues.

Total output of 896,000 bpd is up from 729,000 bpd last week. However, Libyan oil output topped 1.3 million bpd at times last year.

Reporting by Angus McDowall; Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London, Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli and Ayman al-Warfali in Benghazi; Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman

File photo – EPA/FILIP SINGER

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