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Libya exports two medium sulfur straight run fuel oil cargoes from Zawiya

Libya has exported two cargoes of medium sulfur straight run fuel oil from Zawiya as the country begins to increase exports of crude and products following a recent deal with rebels, sources said Thursday.

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"There are no low sulfur straight run cargoes being exported from Libya at the moment, but they have indeed exported two medium sulfur straight run cargoes of 1.5-1.7% sulfur," a trader said, adding that the Zawiya refinery recently bought a cargo of sourer Al Jurf crude which produced more medium sulfur straight run fuel oil.

Zawiya is usually fed by the Sharara crude field in the southwest corner of the country which produces a light, low-sulfur crude.

But the plant was forced to turn to alternative grades after protesters shut in the field in March, prompting flows of Sharara to dry up.

The refinery had been relying on crude supplies from Marsa al-Brega and Marsa el-Hariga, both of which supply sweet crude, while the Sharara field was off-line. Most of Libya's land-based crudes are light and sweet.

However, Marsa al-Hariga was briefly closed by renewed protests in early-June, prompting the country's state-owned National Oil Corp. to divert exports from the offshore terminals of Bouri and Jurf, which produce a much heavier, more sulfurous crude grade, and thus more medium sulfur straight run fuel oil.

Sources said Libya had in the past exported about eight cargoes a month of straight run fuel oil, but far less during the recent protests. The 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery has been operational through most of the recent crisis in Libya, albeit at significantly reduced rates.

--Marko Trtica,
--Paula Vanlaningham,
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,