* NOC says up to 16 cargoes may be offered via tender in Nov
* Largest Ras Lanuf refinery likely to start operating
* Libyan oil exports remain dependent on local workers
By Jessica Donati
TRIPOLI, Oct 30 Libya's crude oil exports will
jump to almost 350,000 barrels per day in November, more than
double the volume sold the previous month, sources at the
National Oil Company (NOC) told Reuters in an interview on
The NOC plans to sell a total of up to 14 cargoes of oil
from several fields, primarily in the east and at offshore sites
which escaped the worst of the damage inflicted by the war and
located in areas that were liberated soon after the uprising.
A further two cargoes were expected to be offered by
Benghazi-based subsidiary Agoco, bringing the total to 16, the
The eastern firm took charge of sales during the fighting to
provide rebels with a crucial source of income after sanctions
froze most of Libya's $170 billion worth of assets.
Libya's crude oil exports virtually ground to a halt during
the war, with just two cargoes leaving the country's ports until
September, when the first flows began trickling back into the
Before the February uprising that toppled former leader
Muammar Gaddafi and ultimately led to his capture and death just
over a week ago, Libyan crude oil exports stood at 1.3 million
Agoco was due to hand over responsibility for sales in
mid-November, the sources said.
At least eight cargoes of crude and condensate have been
sold since Agoco's fields began pumping oil again almost two
months ago, and several grades have been offered.
Libya still has no plans to offer crude from Repsol's
El-Sharara field however, as the first flows will be used to
supply the country's largest online refinery at Zawiya. It can
process around 120,000 bpd but has yet to return to full
There was no timeframe in place for marketing oil from the
site, which is located deep in the south west and among Libya's
largest fields, the sources said.
Libya's largest refinery, which accounts for around
two-thirds of the country's refining capacity, was expected
online towards the end of November, the sources said.
Ras Lanuf can process 220,000 bpd and the NOC chairman has
previously said the plant would return to service by the end of
the year, a forecast the NOC sources said was over-cautious.
The NOC's shipments will total around 600,000 barrels each,
while Agoco was expected to sell its oil in larger cargoes of 1
million barrels, the sources said.
More streams of crude would become available for export, in
a further sign the industry is slowly returning to normality.
The NOC planned to market crude from Total's Al Jurf, Eni's
Abu Atiffel, Amna, Sirtica and Zueitina in November. Agoco would
market cargoes of Sarir crude before handing control back to the
The rapid return of Libya's oil is still almost entirely
owed to the efforts and sacrifices of local workers who have
returned to fields that are still viewed as unsafe either due to
the risk of attack by insurgents or maintenance issues.
But it could be many months before they are joined by the
foreigners that make up a key part of the country's skilled
workforce, which could hamper efforts to speed up flows at sites
already in operation and restart other fields.
The largest contractors working on Libya's oil fields say
most foreign companies still have no timeframe in place for
returning evacuated staff, and few have volunteered to return.
New obstacles are emerging as firms negotiate who will
provide security for workers vulnerable to attacks in the desert
and in cities overflowing with weapons.
Foreign oil companies are keen to use their own security,
but the interim government has said a special branch of the
military will be trained up to protect the country's oil fields.
And for the time being, with or without security, they are
unwilling to commit to sending employees back to a country that
is already seen to be plunging into a cycle of tribal violence
and retribution, potentially undermining the new leaders and
sending Libya back into chaos.
(Reporting by Jessica Donati; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)