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Platts exclusive -- Libyan crude oil production slips to 366,000 b/d: NOC chief

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Platts exclusive -- Libyan crude oil production slips to 366,000 b/d: NOC chief


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London — Libyan oil production has slipped to 366,000 b/d, the head of state-owned NOC said Tuesday, as output continues to be hit by technical difficulties and security issues.

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Libya's production had edged up to around 430,000 b/d in early July and more increases had been expected after NOC lifted force majeure on crude loadings from the 220,000 b/d capacity Ras Lanuf export facility.

But NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla told Platts that output was down at 366,000 b/d as of Monday.

Production has been affected by technical problems at oil fields operated by NOC subsidiary Agoco in eastern Libya.

Libyan output averaged around 410,000 b/d in June according to the latest Platts survey of OPEC production -- less than one third of its 1.5 million b/d capacity.

Libya had hoped to resume crude exports from its third-largest port, Ras Lanuf, this month, but guards that protect the facility said they would not allow any vessel to dock there.

NOC lifted the force majeure on crude loadings at Ras Lanuf -- which had been in place since December -- on July 2, theoretically allowing exports to resume from the 220,000 b/d capacity terminal.

However, no tankers have yet been able to load from the port.

Sanalla in early June said he was hopeful Libyan output would increase to some 630,000 b/d from current levels as NOC prepared for the Waha oil fields to resume production.

NOC has also been trying to reach a deal with protesters that have forced the closure of the major fields of Sharara and Elephant (El Feel) in the southwest of the country.

The two fields have a combined production capacity of 450,000 b/d.

Sanalla has said that Libyan oil production could be boosted to as much as 1 million b/d if NOC successfully negotiated a restart of the fields with protesters blockading the nearby pipeline infrastructure.

--Stuart Elliott,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,