Fresh protests by workers at Libya’s key Zawiya oil export terminal threaten to again stifle the country’s oil production from its major Sharara oil field, sources close to the matter said Friday.
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Libyan crude output is currently at two-month highs of over 1 million b/d. But these events show how vulnerable the country’s oil sector is to unrest, whether related to staffing or security.
Sources said with protesters planning to prevent a tanker from loading at the terminal this weekend, production at the 340,000 b/d Sharara field is expected to be shut-in as the Zawiya refinery is down and all the tanks at the terminal are full.
“We are expecting a complete shutdown [at Sharara] because of some problems at Zawiya refinery. Tomorrow a tanker is due but maybe loading will be stopped by the guys causing the problems,” a source at the Sharara field said.
Production at Sharara — the country’s largest oil field — is currently around 300,000 b/d, up from some 218,000 b/d last week, sources said.
Crude from this field is pumped to the 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery and the Zawiya export terminal
The Zawiya refinery has also stopped operating due to the fresh protests.
Representatives at NOC were unavailable for comment.
But such protests have been very frequent and sometimes resolved in days.
The situation around Zawiya terminal and the Sharar field has been volatile in the last few months.
State-owned National Oil Corp. shut Sharara mid-July after gunmen entered a substation and kidnapped four staff members. It also declared force majeure on crude oil exports from Zawiya.
The field is operated by Akakus Oil, a joint venture between NOC, Spain’s Repsol, Norway’s Equinor and Austria’s OMV.
Loadings from Zawiya oil terminal have remained under force majeure since mid-July, sources added.
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