Libya’s oil production ramps up after ports reopen
Tripoli. Libya’s Abu Attifel oil field has restarted operations after a two-week halt due to the closure of oil ports—a closure that ended on Wednesday after Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifted the force majeure on four ports in the eastern part of the country after the export terminals were handed over to the Tripoli-based internationally recognized Libyan oil company.
“Production and export operations will return to normal levels within the next few hours,” the NOC said in a statement yesterday, lifting the ten-day force majeure on the ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Hariga, and Zuetina, which had crippled Libyan production and had oil market participants worried that another major supply disruption would push oil prices up.
Production resumption at Abu Attifel will be gradual, a Libyan oil source and an engineer told Reuters on Thursday. The most recent production at the oil field had been 50,000 bpd-60,000 bpd, compared to its 70,000-bpd capacity.
Last month, after two weeks of fighting with several other armed groups at Libyan ports, the Libyan National Army (LNA)—an eastern government-affiliated militia—decided to give control of the ports to the eastern NOC.
Libya’s oil production came to a halt at the beginning of July, after the Tripoli-based NOC declared force majeure on crude oil loadings at the Hariga and Zuetina oil terminals, adding to the force majeure at the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals. The NOC confirmedon July 2 that the total daily production loss amounted to 850,000 bpd of crude oil.
After the ports reopened, the NOC said on Wednesday that the company and its subsidiaries “are concentrating on managing the build up of operations, to maximise production, and overcome obstacles and losses incurred during the crisis of the last four weeks.”
Also on Thursday, the NOC lifted the force majeure at the El-Feel oil field, which had been in place since February 23, 2018, as a dispute over pay and benefits drug on. Oil pumping at the field—operated by a joint venture of Italy’s Eni and NOC—is expected to resume to 50,000 bpd within two days, and to 72,000 bpd three days later, the NOC said today.
“We are happy to announce the return to production at El-Feel. Bringing El-Feel back online will help us swiftly return to maximum production levels,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said.