Libya Halts Biggest Oilfield Loadings in Latest Disruption

Libya halted loadings from its biggest oil field in the latest disruption to the nation’s crude production and shipments.

Force majeure was declared since 19 August on shipments from Sharara, made through the Zawiya export terminal, state-run National Oil Corp. Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said on 21 August by phone. Force majeure is a legal status protecting a party from liability if it can’t fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control.

A local armed group, which had closed the pipeline linking to the port of Sharara to demand the release from prison of one of its members, evacuated the area late 21 August, Wessam Al-Messmari, an office manager at Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), said by phone. PFG took control of the area and asked the state oil company to reopen the pipeline, he said. Al-Messmari had said earlier on 21 August that the pipeline should reopen within hours.

Libya is reviving its oil production and exports in spite of continuing political uncertainty. In July, crude production was at a 4-year high and exports were the most in 3 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the expansion has helped Libya’s oil-dependent economy, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is trying to cut global supplies. That effort has been undermined by recovering output at OPEC members Libya and Nigeria.

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