Trading sources said Wednesday that crude cargoes at Libya's Es Sider port were still loading without any interruption, following the news that there had been an explosion on one of the pipelines feeding into the grade on Tuesday.
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"Knowing how much oil is in stock [at the port] at the moment, I would be surprised if there are delays [immediately] -- production is reduced but we haven't heard yet about how it will affect January loadings," said one Mediterranean sweet crude trader.
Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed the explosion in a statement on its website, saying: "The National Oil Corporation confirms an explosion on the Zaggut to Es-Sider oil pipeline. The line connects the fields to Es-Sider oil terminal and is operated by the Waha Oil Company. Early investigations revealed that the explosion occurred on the line 15 km north of Marada town and 130 km south of Sidra."
NOC further said that investigators from Waha have arrived at the site of the explosion and had isolated the affected area, and that the company had "diverted production to the Samah line."
Trading sources said that 80,000 b/d of crude were currently offline, matching the anticipated loss of a production losses that NOC mentioned between 70,000 to 100,000 barrels/day.
Waha Oil Co. was producing over 260,000 b/d before the incident. Waha is a joint venture of NOC and US companies ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and Hess.
Waha operates the Waha, Samah, Dahra and Gialo fields, along with Es Sider and the pipeline network that carries crude from fields operated by Wintershall and Total to the export terminal. In November, the company outlined plans to boost production to 600,000 b/d.
Several traders active in the Libyan market said late Wednesday that they heard the repairs to the pipeline would take one week and that currently there was no anticipated change to the January lifting program.
"It's not affecting loadings up to now -- [due to the fact that] there is another pipeline as well leading to the port -- and [NOC] claim it will be up and running again within a week approximately," said a second crude trader.
A representative from NOC was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.