Libya’s biggest oil export terminal, Es Sider, can store crude for 20 more days before filling up with production from some fields feeding storage tanks at the port already pumping at less than a 10th of previous levels.
The port remains shut, having closed July 28 amid protests by staff and armed guards, Ibrahim Al Awami, director of the inspection and measurement department of the oil ministry, told reporters at Es Sider today.
Production from Waha Oil Co., one of the companies supplying crude to Es Sider, has dropped to 30,000 barrels a day, from 360,000 barrels a day previously, and some wells will need to be shut if the sit-in protest continues beyond 20 days, Al Awami said.
Interruptions at ports and other installations across Libya lowered nationwide oil production to 800,000 barrels day last month, the least since December 2011, according to a Bloomberg survey of output from OPEC members. The monthly average is half of the post-revolution peak of 1.6 million barrels a day reached exactly a year earlier, the data show.
Es Sider’s crude oil storage tank capacity has been reduced to 4.5 million barrels, with some of that still unused. The original capacity of 6 million barrels at 19 tanks has shrunk because three tanks are undergoing maintenance and another was burned down during the 2011 uprising that ousted Muammar Qaddafi.
Four oil tankers are moored at Es Sider, waiting to load, Al Awami said. Three of them arrived July 31 and the fourth on Aug. 3, according to data in the port’s control room.
Waha is 59 percent owned by Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp., with the rest held by ConocoPhillips (COP:US), Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO:US) and Hess Corp. (HES:US) Other producers supplying crude to the port last month were Total SA (FP), Suncor Energy Inc. (SU)’s Petro-Canada and Libya’s state-owned Arabian Gulf Oil Co.
Negotiations are underway to resolve protests at Es Sider and two other ports, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina, Oil Minister Abdulbari Al-Arusi said at a press conference in Tripoli earlier today. National production was currently 700,000 barrels a day, with an increased to 800,000 expected within the next month, the minister said. All oil fields in Libya’s western region have returned to normal, allowing an improvement in exports, Al-Arusi said.
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