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London — Libya's Waha oil fields have had work carried out on them to maintain the production and service facilities after they were offline for more than seven months due to an oil blockade, senior oil officials said Aug. 10.

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A media official at the Waha Oil Company, which operates the oil fields, confirmed to S&P Global Platts, that the repair work was scheduled to be completed later Aug. 10.

The Waha oil fields in the Sirte Basin make up about a third of Libyan crude oil production, with the capacity to pump around 350,000 b/d.

The repairs at Waha were being carried out to reduce the risk of the sudden stoppages at the fields which were caused due to the force majeure, which is in place at Libya's key eastern oil terminals.

"This work will help speed up the production processes upon full operation and spare these strategic facilities any technical obstacles due to complete paralysis of work and declaring the state of force majeure," said Abd Al-Salam Mansour, head of production department at the Waha oil fields.

Waha Oil Company is a subsidiary of state-owned National Oil Corp.

The NOC has previously said that the cessation of the bulk of its output due to the current civil conflict was causing "significant damage to the country's oil reservoirs and infrastructure."

In July, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla warned of permanent damage to the Libyan oil sector from both a budgetary and technical perspective, with severe repercussions for future output capacity.

Sanalla said the closure of several of Libya's oil fields had affected the oil reservoirs, which had undergone abrupt mechanical, structural and chemical changes.

"Successful work has been done on replacing valves in stations, wells and works to maintain surface equipment and well lines continuously without interruption," Mansour added.

"Work is continuing between the technical and engineering teams in the (Al-Waha) field in the area of the crude oil stations (the North Dafah) to accomplish various maintenance works targeting the production stations, gas plants, and water injection stations," the Waha media official added.

The North African oil producer has been wracked by conflict between the UN-backed Government of National Accord and the self-styled Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar that has almost completely halted oil output.

Production shutdown

On January 18, eastern tribes, supported by the LNA, halted exports from five key oil terminals, which dramatically reduced the country's crude production, with most of the crude that was exported being loaded directly from Mediterranean offshore fields.

Libyan crude production had been slashed to around 70,000-110,000 b/d in the past few months, from over 1.10 million b/d before the blockade. The OPEC member pumped 110,000 b/d of crude in July, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

Libya holds Africa's largest proven reserves of oil and its main light sweet Sharara and Es Sider export crudes yield a large proportion of middle distillates and gasoline, making it popular with refineries in the Mediterranean region and Northwest Europe.