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Libyan crude oil output jumps to two-month high above 1 million b/d

Dubai — Libya's crude oil recovery has seen output rise above 1 million b/d for the first time since early June, sources close to production said Tuesday.

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The latest increase came mainly from the Sharara oil field where production has moved above 250,000 b/d, up from 218,000 b/d last week, the sources said.

The 340,000 b/d field was shut down abruptly mid-June after gunmen entered a substation and kidnapped four staff members. Wells in the surrounding area were shutdown as a precaution and workers evacuated.

Libya's oil output fell to 670,000 b/d in July, its lowest since April 2017, according to the latest S&P Global Platts survey, as the authorities dealt with a militia blockade of eastern ports that was resolved on July 11 as well as the Sharara kidnappings.

Operated by a joint venture between state-owned National Oil Corp. and a consortium of Total, Repsol, Statoil and OMV, the field has seen several closures over the past few years due to worker protests and attacks by tribal militias on export pipelines.

Sharara is made up of three producing areas in the southwestern Murzuq basin. Two were brought back online relatively quickly earlier this month, boosting output to around 200,000 b/d. However, the third area, known as NC-186 presented a more difficult security picture, the sources said.

"While the other two areas are on flat ground, NC-186 is basically in a bowl. It is very hard to secure, as militants could come from any direction," a Libyan security consultant said.

Crude from El-Feel and Sharara is pumped in to the 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery and export terminal on Libya's far west coast.

Force majeure on crude loadings from the terminal remained in place, but some 6.5 million barrels has been scheduled for August loading in seven Aframaxes and two Suezmaxes, according to traders.

--Adal Mirza, adal.mirza@spglobal.com

--Newsdesk-Libya, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Daniel Lalor, daniel.lalor@spglobal.com