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Shut ports limit Libya oil output to half

Tripoli, August 27, 2013

Libya's oil output is stuck at less than half of pre-war levels due to idle eastern oil ports, its oil minister said on Tuesday.

Oil production has fallen to 665,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to a month long disruption by armed security guards who shut down main export ports, Abdelbari al-Arusi said.

"In Libya we are precisely producing 665,000 bpd as a result of the strikes and the problems arising. We used to produce 1,550,000 bpd and when we produce now 665,000 bpd we are talking about a big difference," he said in an interview aired by Libyan television channel Libya al-Hurra.

The minister said the oil ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina and Marsa al Hariga, which are all in the east where most of the country's oil production lies, remained closed.

A spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard also said on Tuesday that the situation had not changed since last week and Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina were still blocked.

The deputy oil minister said last week that the Hariga port had been cleared of striking workers but tankers have not been able to load.

The tanker Hellas Warrior was called in at the end of last week, the ship operator said, but was unable to take crude. Another tanker was also waiting, a trading source close to the matter said.

Only Marsa al Brega in the east was open. Production was mainly coming from two western and southern fields in Zawiya and Mellitah, he added.

Brega loaded its first crude oil tanker since Aug. 9 over the weekend.

"The oil ports are completely closed. Brega was recently opened and Zueitina and Hariga are still closed. Every port has a different reason for their closure," the minister added.

Arusi blamed mainly non-oil workers and agitators pushing for federalism in Libya for the strikes, which he said had cost the country $2 billion in lost revenues.

"These groups announced federalism and they don't recognise the government nor the general national council," he said. – Reuters




Tags: libya | Ports | oil production | Tripoli |

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