Libyan crude production recovers as largest oil field restarts

7/22/2019

CAIRO - Libyan oil production is set to recover from a five-month low as the North African supplier’s biggest field restarts following a brief halt.

A valve in the pipeline that carries crude from the Sharara field to the Zawiya refinery has been reopened and tested, said the state-run National Oil Corp. The stoppage occurred Friday night, and authorities lifted a short-lived force majeure on loading Sharara crude at Zawiya on Monday.

Production at Sharara, in Libya’s southwest, had returned to its normal level later Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t yet public.

The field had been producing 290,000 bpd and its shuttering had reduced overall daily production in the country with Africa’s largest proven oil reserves to about 1 MMbpd, the OPEC member’s lowest since February.

An oil tanker, Monterey, has been waiting at Zawiya port to load 700,000 bbl once force majeure is lifted, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said before the announcement by the NOC, asking not be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The NOC condemned the “as yet unclaimed deliberate act of sabotage” that had stopped Sharara’s oil and said authorities were continuing to hunt the perpetrators. Sharara has experienced brief shutdowns in recent years as some of Libya’s myriad armed groups press political or financial demands.

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