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Libya Closes All Oil Ports, Expects To Shut-In 150,000 Bpd

Tsvetana Paraskova

Libya has closed all its oil loading terminals due to bad weather, and soon-to-be-full storage tanks will lead to a shut-in of 150,000 bpd, or half of the oil production at the large Sharara oil field, a source close to the issue told S&P Global Platts on Wednesday.

Storage capacity is critically full at the Zawiya terminal which serves the Sharara oil field, according to the source, who added that production at Sharara is expected to be reduced by 50 percent as of Thursday morning local time.

Libyan oil ports in the east—including Es Sider and Ras Lanuf—have been closed due to bad weather, a port engineer told Reuters today, while the airport in the biggest city in the east, Benghazi, is also closed due to bad weather, a source at the airport said.

On Friday, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that several crude oil terminals in Libya were closed due to inclement weather, with oil production in the country already down by 150,000 bpd and likely to drop by a further 50,000 bpd.

The state oil firm confirmed that four oil port terminals—Ras Lanuf, Zueitina, Zawiya, and Es Sider—were non-operational due to high waves. Loading schedules at the closed oil terminals have been postponed, the company noted.

“Projections based on the new production level indicate that Es Sider tanks will be full within two days. Should bad weather persist, 150,000 barrels of Sharara production could also be affected,” NOC said on Friday.

Related: OPEC Oil Exports Jump Ahead Of Meeting

The four ports that had been closed on Friday last week just reopened on Sunday, port engineers and a Libyan shipping source told Reuters.

Although the closure will disrupt Libya’s oil production and loading schedules at the key ports, this time it is not due to violence, as it happened in June and July, when armed groups attacked the eastern oil ports in Libya, forcing a large part of Libya’s oil production to shut in and NOC to declare force majeure for several weeks.

As of two weeks ago, Libya was pumping close to 1.3 million bpd, and NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said that he hoped Libya would be exempted, again, from any new OPEC-wide production cuts.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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