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Africa Oil & Gas: Bad Weather Closes Libyan Oil Ports, 150,000 Bpd Output Shut In

Several crude oil terminals in Libya have been closed due to inclement weather, with oil production in the country already down by 150,000 bpd and likely to drop by a further 50,000 bpd, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Friday.

The state oil firm confirmed today that four oil port terminals—Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Zawiya, and Es Sider—are currently non-operational due to high waves. The Brega oil terminal may also have to suspend operations as of Friday afternoon local time, NOC said in a statement. Loading schedules at the currently closed oil terminals have been postponed, the company noted.

Libya’s current oil production has already fallen by 150,000 bpd and is likely to be cut by another 50,000 bpd, due to lack of additional storage capacity at the closed ports.

“Projections based on the new production level indicate that Es Sider tanks will be full within two days. Should bad weather persist, 150,000 barrels of Sharara production could also be affected,” NOC said.

Although it will disrupt Libya’s oil production and loading schedules at the key ports, this time the closure is not due to violence, as it happened in June and July, when armed groups attacked the eastern oil ports in Libya, forcing a large part of Libya’s oil production to shut in and NOC to declare force majeure for several weeks.

Following severe production and export disruptions in the early summer, Libya’s oil production has been steadily rising over the past three months.

In August, production recovered to average 955,000 bpd, while Libya’s production in September further jumped by 100,000 bpd to average 1.054 million bpd, and then by yet another 60,000 bpd to average 1.114 million bpd in October, as per data from OPEC’s secondary sources.

As of last week, Libya was pumping close to 1.3 million bpd, and NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said that he hoped Libya would be exempted, again, from any new OPEC-wide production cuts.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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