Libya’s crude oil production was cut by 70,000-100,000 b/d after an attack on
its export pipelines supplying the Es Sider oil terminal, state-owned National
Oil Corp. said Sunday.
Investigations into the cause of an explosion, which occurred at 1600 local
time Saturday (1400 GMT) are continuing, but NOC said it “expects a decrease
in production of between 70,000 b/d and 100,000 b/d as a result.”
The OPEC country’s output has recovered in the last year to nearly 1 million
b/d, having dropped to as low as 300,000 b/d in the years following the 2011
revolution. It remains vulnerable to losses, however, as militant groups
continue to target key oil infrastructure.
The explosion and fire occurred on the pipeline from Al-Zidah to Es Sider,
around 21 km northwest of Mourada, NOC said. An earlier explosion at the
pipeline in late December had led to a similar loss of output.
Waha Oil, a joint venture of NOC with ConocoPhillips, Hess and Total, which
operates the pipeline , said that it immediately transferred the production to
the Al-Sidra line. The company had been producing at more than 260,000 b/d. It
previously announced plans to raise output to 600,000 b/d. Total acquired its
16.33% stake from Marathon Oil in March in a $450 million deal.
As of Sunday, it was unclear what impact the closure of the pipeline will have
on loadings of Es Sider crude. This will depend on how long repairs take. The
Es Sider terminal normally exports around 250,000 b/d. The December attack
closed the pipeline for around two weeks, but only resulted in a couple of
days of delay to NOC’s January program.
–Adal Mirza, email@example.com
–Edited by E Shailaja Nair, firstname.lastname@example.org