Libyan oil exports impaired as some in OPEC seek more supply

By Salma El Wardany on 6/14/2018

CAIRO (Bloomberg) -- Two of Libya’s biggest oil ports stopped loading crude after armed forces clashed nearby, taking more bbl off the market just as OPEC mulls proposals to boost production.

Workers were removed from the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf terminals, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. The evacuation of the ports, which account for 40% of Libya’s oil exports, comes as fellow members of OPEC prepare for a key summit next week in Vienna.

Fighting erupted about 20 km (13 mi) south of Es Sider, said Omran al-Hamali, a spokesman for Brigade 302, which is partly responsible for security at the oil facilities. Libya has pumped 990,000 bpd over the past three months, well below the 1.8 MMbpd it produced before the ouster of former leader Moammar Qaddafi.

Saudi Arabia, the largest producer in OPEC, and partner Russia have proposed boosting output to temper prices that topped $80/bbl in May. OPEC members Iran and Venezuela, which have little capacity to raise supply themselves, oppose the plan.

Tanker Tracking

Tanker Minerva Lisa, set to load crude from Es Sider, was instructed to move 10 mi away from the port into deeper water, one person said. Bloomberg tanker tracking shows the vessel headed away from the immediate vicinity of the terminal in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Es Sider was set to export 15 crude cargoes, or a total of 9 MMbbl, this month, while Ras Lanuf was due to ship five cargoes totaling 2.8 MMbbl, according to a loading program obtained by Bloomberg.

The Libyan National Army, led by Eastern Military Commander Khalifa Haftar, took control of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf along with other oil facilities in 2016, allowing them to reopen after a long blockade by rival militias. Storage tanks at the terminals were badly damaged in previous fighting.

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