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UPDATE 3-Libya's oil exports shrink to just over 10 pct capacity
August 29, 2013 / 3:17 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 3-Libya's oil exports shrink to just over 10 pct capacity

* Exports at 145,000 bpd, from over 1.2 mln bpd capacity

* Only Bouri, Al Jurf, Marsa al Brega ports operating

* Zawiya crude oil loadings shut since Monday

* Country faces shut down of largest refineries

* Mellitah only exporting condensate (Adds impact on global oil market in paragaph 3)

By Julia Payne and Emma Farge

LONDON/GENEVA, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Libya’s crude oil exports have shrunk to just over 10 percent of capacity from three ports, out of a possible nine, as armed groups have tightened their grip on its major industry.

Exports are down to only around 145,000 barrels per day, compared with a capacity of close to 1.25 million bpd, according to one industry source with close ties to Libya.

The cut in supply from the OPEC member has helped push up international oil prices in recent weeks.

Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi this week blamed mainly non-oil workers and agitators pushing for regional autonomy in Libya for the strikes, which he said had cost the country $2 billion in lost revenue so far.

The closure of Libya’s two largest oil terminals at the end of July, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, started the worst outage since the civil war in 2011.

The two ports have been closed for about a month now by armed security guards, who previously protected the sites.

Buyers of Libya crude oil are only able to load now from the Bouri and Al Jurf offshore platforms and the Marsa al Brega port in the east, which resumed exports at the weekend.

Loadings from the western Zawiya terminal, which has a capacity of up to 230,000 bpd, were halted earlier this week, several trading and shipping sources said on Thursday.

An armed group blocked pipeline flows from the El Sharara and El Feel fields in the south to the Zawiya and Mellitah terminals, late on Monday.

“Some 10 people blocked the terminal since Monday, but anyway, the pipeline feeding the port was down,” a shipping source close to the matter said.


Libya could also face fuel shortages should the disruption continue or worsen.

Its largest oil refinery is now shut, and its second-biggest will soon follow, dealing a blow to Libya’s ability to provide fuel for domestic consumption, which could start being felt in day-to-day life.

“They’ll almost certainly need to start importing gasoline and diesel quite soon,” Richard Mallinson, chief policy analyst at Energy Aspects, said.

Libya’s second-largest 120,000 bpd refinery at Zawiya will soon have to close when crude stocks run dry. It is normally fed by the now closed El Sharara field.

“Zawiya refinery is hogging the oil to keep it running,” one trader said.

An oil industry source with close ties to Libya said the refinery might have another day or two before having to close.

Libya’s largest 220,000 bpd oil refinery at Ras Lanuf has shut due to a lack of crude after briefly re-opening and exporting some kerosene, used for jet fuel, until early last week.

Oil fields producing the feedstock for the plant have largely been shut in as the export terminal Marsa al Hariga cannot export oil.

“Fuel shortages played a part in building unrest in Egypt through the first half of the year, so the Libyan government will want to avoid adding fuel station queues to their problems,” Mallinson said.

A trading source said only condensate was still available for loading from Mellitah, not crude.

The government has repeatedly threatened military intervention to prevent protesters from selling oil independently of the state-run National Oil Corporation.

But Prime Minister Ali Zeidan tempered recent statements by saying that Libya was seeking a peaceful way to end the oil strikes. Libya’s oil production has been cut to 250,000 barrels per day, from prewar levels of 1.6 million bpd, he said. (editing by Keiron Henderson and Jane Baird)

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