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Libyan oil output recovers to around 900,000 b/d, western blockade still in place

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Libyan oil output recovers to around 900,000 b/d, western blockade still in place

Highlights

NOC completes pipeline maintenance linking Waha oil fields

Around 300,000 b/d of output still shut-in from PFG-led blockade

Libya remains a top oil market risk for 2022: Platts Analytics

Libyan crude output has recovered to around 900,000 b/d after pipeline maintenance at the eastern Waha oil fields was complete but around 300,000 b/d of production still remained shut-in as a blockade at its key western oil fields remained in place, Libya-based sources said Jan. 10.

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This comes a few days after crude production had fallen to a 14-month low of 729,000 b/d, according to a statement from state-owned National Oil Corporation.

On Jan. 3, the pipeline that connects the Samah and Dahra fields to the 350,000 b/d Es Sider terminal was shut for repairs, causing a production fall of around 200,000 b/d. Repairs works were complete by Jan. 7, and sources said production had fully recovered by Jan. 10.

The 32-inch pipeline which carries crude from the Samah and Dahra oil fields to the Es Sider port has suffered numerous leaks in the past year due to its fragility.

But Libya's key southwestern oil fields of Sharara, El Feel, Wafa and Hamada, and the 300,000 b/d Zawiya oil terminal, have all been shut down since Dec. 20 after a blockade by a unit of the Petroleum Facilities Guards.

Sources said this blockade remained in place and NOC was still negotiating with PFG and the ministry to put an end to the blockade.

An armed group affiliated with PFG had closed the four oil fields and the pipeline which connects Sharara into the Zawiya oil terminal, due to a dispute with NOC.

At the time, NOC said the blockade would result in a loss of more than 300,000 b/d, prompting it to declare force majeure on operations at these facilities.

Libya's crude production averaged around 1.11 million b/d in 2021, according to Platts estimates, compared with 360,000 b/d and 1.05 million b/d in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Political vacuum

The country's oil industry has since the 2011 civil war been at the mercy of groups vying for the control of valuable assets, with armed attacks on key pipelines and production facilities.

S&P Global Platts Analytics said risks to its 2022 forecast for 1.1 million b/d are rising by the day due to recent outages and also because of political instability.

"A deal between the eastern parliament and caretaker government in Tripoli to reschedule the Dec. 24 election has yet to be reached, increasing risks of a political or military conflict over oil revenues," it said in a recent note.

There was still no clarity when elections may occur after they were canceled on Dec. 24.

The country's election commission had proposed delaying the first round of the long-awaited presidential election until Jan. 24.

But many analysts said it was unlikely elections will take place this month as the UN-backed Government of National Unity and its Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah were still in talks with the eastern-based House of Representatives to decide a new election date.

The last election in Libya was in 2014 and resulted in two rival governments, after which crude output was below 500,000 b/d for nearly two years.

The bulk of Libya's aging infrastructure has been wrecked by the civil war, militant and terrorist attacks, along with neglect over the last decade.