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Repair work on key Libyan pipeline to affect output at Waha oil fields: sources

Highlights

45,000-90,000 b/d could be affected: sources

Repairs on Samah/Dahra-Es Sider pipeline to last seven days

frail infrastructure, lack of funds strain Libyan oil sector

Libyan oil production is again expected to fall as some of the Waha oil fields will be offline due to pipeline maintenance, sources close to the matter said Nov. 25.

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The pipeline that connects the Samah and Dahra fields to the 350,000 b/d Es Sider terminal will be shut for seven days, they said.

This could reduce production somewhere between 45,000-90,000 b/d, and repair work began on Nov. 24, they said.

The 32-inch pipeline which carries crude from the Samah and Dahra oilfields to the Es Sider port, has uffered numerous leaks in recent months due to its fragility.

A representative at state-owned National Oil Corporation was unavailable to comment.

The Waha oil fields in the Sirte Basin have the capacity to pump close to 300,000 b/d, and are operated by NOC subsidiary Waha Oil Co.

The oil from these fields feeds into Libya's flagship Es Sider crude grade, whose exports have recently averaged 280,000 b/d, according to sources.

A lack of finance allocated for maintenance and repairs has made it difficult for NOC to maintain its assets.

Repairs at NOC pipelines and tanks were also obstructed last year because of blockades at onshore eastern ports, and western and eastern crude fields.

Contentious elections

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

Libya's crude production has been averaging 1.12 million-1.16 million b/d in the past three months, according to the S&P Global Platts monthly OPEC+ survey.

Analysts expect Libyan oil output to be vulnerable to downside risks ahead of "contentious elections" scheduled for Dec. 24.

It forecasts crude output to average 1.15 million b/d through April 2022, roughly 50,000 b/d below full capacity, on sporadic outages.

"A power struggle over oil revenues is not assumed, but disruption risks will grow after the election," S&P Global Platts Analytics said in a recent note.