Libya oil output may double as protests end in west
SALEH SARRAR and MAHER CHMAYTELLI
TRIPOLI, Libya (Bloomberg) -- Libya’s daily oil output may double to 500,000 bbl tomorrow, May 13, after protesters agreed to reopen pipelines carrying crude from fields in the country’s western region, the state-oil company said.
“Sharara, Elephant, Hamada and Wafa fields should resume production this evening or tomorrow morning and progressively increase output,” National Oil Corp. spokesman Mohamed Elharari said by phone in Tripoli.
The protesters agreed to stop blocking oil shipments after the authorities started preparations to hold elections for a new parliament, Elharari said. Spokesmen for the protesters couldn’t immediately be reached by phone for comment.
Repsol SA-operated Sharara and Eni SpA-operated Elephant are the largest fields in western Libya, with daily capacities of about 340,000 bbl and 140,000 bbl respectively before the shutdowns in March,
Protests in western Libya and a separate rebellion for self-rule in the east have curtailed the North African nation’s production to 237,000 bpd, according to National Oil. The country was producing about 1.6 MMbpd before the revolt that toppled Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
“For the first time in many months we will have in Libya production from the west and some production from the east,” Olivier Jakob, managing director at Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland, said by email. “If there are no new protests or interruptions then it will have a material impact on crude supplies in the Mediterranean” and raise Libya’s production capacity to 800,000 to 900,000 bpd, he said.
Crude exports have resumed from Zueitina and Hariga, two oil ports in eastern Libya shut down by separatists in July. The rebels threatened on May 7 to reoccupy those ports in protest at the election of Ahmed Maitiq as Prime Minister. The two largest oil ports in the east, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, remain shut down and under rebel control.