Wintershall halts Libya oil production

Libyan oil exports25 November 2013, News Wires – German operator Wintershall, part of the BASF group, has been forced to halt oil production in Libya as exports remain disrupted by protestors seizing shipping ports.

Libya’s oil exports have been running at a fraction of the levels seen earlier this year of more than 1 million barrels per day, according to Reuters.

“Due to the continuing blockade of oil export facilities on the coast, Wintershall had to halt onshore production several weeks ago,” the news wire quoted Wintershall as saying in an emailed statement. This confirmed an earlier report by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Libya’s government is struggling to cope with protesters who have taken over eastern oil ports and a western terminal in pursuit of political demands for more rights and better conditions.

Oil exports from Libya’s western Mellitah port resumed this week after protests ended, however, there appeared to be no breakthrough at other facilities.

“It is currently unclear when the blockade of export terminals will be lifted and how quickly production in the Libyan desert can resume,” Wintershall said, adding its offshore Libyan production remained unaffected.

Until Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011, Wintershall was the second largest foreign oil firm in Libya behind Italy’s Eni, with the country accounting for three-quarters of its total oil output.

Austrian oil and gas group OMV also said last week its production in Libya continued to be interrupted.

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