Libya’s crude returns to oil market

10 July 2013, Sweetcrude, TRIPOLI – LIBYA has re-opened three major oil exporting terminals in its eastern region shut by protesters against Saturday’s elections.

Chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), Nuri Berruien told Reuters that the teminals have restarted, and production blocked by the protests has resumed..

The election, the first in a generation in the North African country, went ahead despite violent protests on the day.

The stoppages at El-Sider, Ras Lanuf and Brega shut half of Libya’s oil exporting capacity. Production of close to 1.6 million barrels per day was also cut by 300,000 bpd as a result of blockages at the terminals.

“Everything is back to normal. Ships are loading and, from last night, some fields have restarted production,” Reuters quoted Berruien as saying. “Hopefully within 24 hours everything will be back to normal levels.”

The shutdown prevented oil tankers that were ready to sail from leaving ports on Friday, prompting local agents to warn oil companies that vessels scheduled to load crude over the weekend might have to drop anchor until terminals were reopened, Reuters reported.

“This problem is over … All of the fields that are feeding the terminals are on, some of them from last night, some of them today,” Berruien told the news agency.

He added that ships had entered the loading area at El-Sider and were ready to start loading.

The three ports that closed have a combined export capacity of about 690,000 bpd.

Libya’s east, which is the source of most of the country’s oil, was starved of cash during Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, and calls for federal rule over the area have been fuelled by long-standing complaints it has been deprived of its fair share of wealth.

A self-proclaimed autonomous council for the oil-rich province called on people in the region to boycott the election, saying it would not give adequate representation to the east.

The anti-election group includes some tribes and disgruntled former rebel forces, analysts have said.

Production has recovered swiftly after grinding to a near halt during last year’s uprising against ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya’s export of crude has risen above pre-war levels because the country’s largest refinery is still offline.

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