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Libya gas field maintenance could last another week: sources

Highlights

It could be another week before Libya is able to resume gas exports toItaly as work to complete planned maintenance at key offshore gas fieldscontinues, sources close to the project said Sunday.

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Flows from Libya through the Greenstream pipeline into Gela in Italy havebeen at zero since the start of the maintenance on April 2 during thework to integrate gas production from a new phase of development at theoffshore Bahr Essalam gas field.

Before the maintenance started on April 2, average gas flows throughGreenstream were at 15 million cu m/d in March, S&P Global Platts datashowed.

The maintenance was supposed to be completed by April 18, but sourcessaid it would now take until at least April 29. There were no nominationsfor Libyan exports to Italy for Monday.

The delay is due to small leaks in the connections from the new BahrEssalam gas development. Further details were not given.

The delays are unrelated to an attack on Sunday on a key oil pipeline inthe east of Libya.

Libya's crude production was cut by 80,000 b/d after the attack on thepipeline supplying the Es Sider oil terminal, though repairs are alreadyunderway.

Bad weather around the Sabratha Marine Platform, where the new gas isbeing connected, have added to the problems.

Early on during the maintenance the platform was hit by one of thevessels. While the damage was minimal, it meant crews working on theproject became a lot more cautious, the sources said.

Mellitah Oil and Gas, the operator of the fields and a joint venture ofItaly's Eni and state-owned NOC, was not available for comment.

WAFA FIELD MAINTENANCE COMPLETE

While Bahr Essalam's production was down, Mellitah has been able tocomplete its maintenance at the onshore Wafa field.

Mellitah contracted French engineering company Technip to carry out theproject to link new production facilities to the Sabratha Marineplatform.

Maintenance at its gas fields and processing complex had originally beenplanned for late February, but was delayed due to forecast cold weatheracross much of Europe during March.

Bahr Essalam was brought on stream in 2005 and produces 995 MMcf/d ofgas, along with 36,000 b/d of condensate. These are partially treated atthe Sabratha Marine platform, then sent to the onshore Mellitah gascomplex for further treatment.

Gas from Bahr Essalam and the onshore Wafa field are exported to Italythrough Greenstream.

As well as exporting gas to Italy, Eni is also the main gas supplier toLibya's domestic market, with around 20 million cu m/d used for powerplants.

Mellitah awarded a contract worth more than $500 million in early 2016for subsea installations and a new production platform, connecting tosupply up to 695 MMcf/d of gas and 31,000 b/d of liquids for treatment.

Phase two includes the completion of 10 wells, and a connection to theSabratha platform where the gas will be treated, and condensates pumpedback onshore for export. Sabratha has five gas processing trains that cantreat up to 695 MMcf/d of gas and 31,000 b/d of liquids.

-- Adal Mirza, adal.mirza@spglobal.com-- Newsdesk-Libya, newsdesk@spglobal.com-- Edited by Jonathan Fox, jonathan.fox@spglobal.com