Libya's NOC to prioritise oil for own use

LONDON Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:19pm BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday it will give priority to sending crude oil to domestic refineries in the early stage of ramping up production and has no immediate plans to export crude oil from ports other than Tobruk.

Oil production resumed in early September and official Libyan estimates say that about a quarter of the pre-war output of 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) is now onstream.

"This is the plan: priority will be given to our refineries to satisfy local demand and if something is left we will export it," said a senior source in the NOC by phone from Tripoli.

Asked if the NOC planned other crude oil exports for October, the source said: "There is no other important shipment foreseen."

The bulk of Libya's current production is coming from Agoco-owned fields in the east and all of the freshly-produced oil that has so far been exported has sailed from the eastern port of Tobruk.

While crude production is rising in Libya, only a portion of the 1.3 million barrels per day of pre-war exports has been made available in the spot market, depriving refiners of the light, sweet oil.

Reuters calculations show that Libya has exported around 2.5 million barrels per day since production resumed a month ago compared with around 40 million barrels in the course of a normal month.

Agoco has been responsible for selling this oil but the NOC source said that it plans to take over these responsibilities, reiterating previous remarks from the NOC chair.

"We are talking with Agoco to try to hand operations back. There is not 100 percent control over marketing but by November we will take it over again," he said.

The NOC has started marketing oil products again after months of paralysis due to international sanctions and will export a 40,0000 tonne low-sulphur fuel oil cargo from Zawiyah in the second half of October, he said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by William Hardy)

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