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Libya's Mellitah crude exports on force majeure on El Feel closure: NOC

London — Crude loadings from Libya's Mellitah port are under force majeure due to the closure of the El Feel oil field, a spokesman at state-owned National Oil Corporation said Monday.

The spokesman said force majeure was declared Sunday evening after Libya's vulnerable El Feel, or Elephant, oil field was shut down again December 5, due to an "unlawful valve closure" on an export pipeline causing a loss of 73,000 b/d.

Crude from El Feel is pumped via an export pipeline to Mellitah. Crude exports from the Mellitah export terminal have recently averaged 80,000-110,000 b/d, according to Platts estimates. The oil exported from Mellitah is normally a blend of Wafa condensate and El Feel crude. Sources said production at the Wafa fields remained stable.

The El Feel field in the southwest of the country has been a flashpoint between rival groups vying for control of Libya's oil facilities. The field previously had a capacity of 90,000 b/d but has been recently producing 73,000 to 75,000 b/d.

The field was shut for a day on November 27 after the Libyan National Army launched air strikes at a militia force loyal to the UN-backed government that had seized the field.

El Feel is operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas Company, a joint venture between NOC and Italy's Eni. Crude from El Feel and the nearby Sharara field is also pumped to the 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery and export terminal in northwest Libya.

Oil output in Libya has been rising despite the conflict, and exports have been largely steady, as almost all of Libya's key oil terminals and infrastructure, especially those in the east of the country, are already controlled by the LNA.

Libya's crude output averaged 1.05 million b/d over January-November, compared with 948,333 b/d in 2018 and 807,500 b/d in 2017, according to the S&P Global Platts OPEC survey.

-- Eklavya Gupte, eklavya.gupte@spglobal.com

-- Amanda Flint, amanda.flint@spglobal.com

-- Edited by James Burgess, newsdesk@spglobal.com