* Exports halted from major western Zawiya, Mellitah ports
* El Sharara field's output halted since Saturday-NOC source
* Exports from eastern Brega port seen still down
* Only offshore Bouri and Al Jurf oil platforms operating
(Adds comments from foreign minister)
By Julia Payne and Ulf Laessing
LONDON/TRIPOLI, Oct 28 Libya's oil exports have
dropped to less than 10 percent of capacity as protests have
halted operations at western ports and fields, frustrating
government efforts to end a three-month stranglehold on the
The OPEC producer's crude oil exports have fallen to around
90,000 barrels per day, according to Reuters calculations, as
Libyan and market sources said crude exports from the Zawiya and
Mellitah oil terminals had been suspended.
The government had been relying on relatively stable revenue
from its western ports in recent weeks, while it has struggled
to reach a deal with protesters blocking its big eastern
facilities, with some demanding a greater share of the oil
Libya had brought exports back to around 450,000 bpd over
the last month, although that level was still far short of its
pre-war export capacity of around 1.25 million bpd.
But the new shutdowns, which began over the weekend, have
extended the worst disruption in Libya's oil industry since the
2011 civil war.
Only the offshore platforms, Bouri and Al Jurf, remained
"The latest protests look to be by the same groups with
which the government has previously tried to make concessions,
so that suggests either the promises have not materialised or
the groups are now pushing for more," Richard Mallinson, North
Africa and Middle East analyst at Energy Aspects consultancy,
"Meanwhile, the guards who control the main central/eastern
terminals do not show any signs of backing down."
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz said on Monday
although the situation was serious, he saw it as a "temporary"
state of affairs.
"We hope to solve this as soon as possible. We have to get
the message to the people that this (oil) is their bread and
butter that we have to fight for," he told Reuters after making
a speech in Zurich. "I am hopeful this can be resolved without
resorting to arms," he said.
ISOLATED IN TRIPOLI
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Monday that exports from
the eastern port of Haragi would resume within a week and that
the government was seeking to meet the demands of protesters
there. The port has a capacity of 110,000 bpd.
Oil is the main source of revenue for the North African
country, which is losing some $130 million a day in income,
Zeidan said last month.
The government in Tripoli has become increasingly isolated
since early summer and has only limited resources to control
disruptions outside the capital, as indicated by the fact that
Zeidan was briefly kidnapped last month.
He has repeatedly appealed to foreign nations for help in
training Libya's weak army and to collect weapons from militia
groups, who have refused to give up arms following the civil
war, but government actions have been limited.
Brent crude oil prices were up by $2.03 at $108.96 a barrel
at 1715 GMT, while U.S. crude oil prices as up by only 57 cents
"The key driver today for Brent is Libya," said Amrita Sent,
chief analyst at consultants Energy Aspects in London.
Zawiya's oil exports were suspended after the El Sharara
field that feeds the port was shut down. Zawiya had been
exporting around 200,000 bpd on average in October, according to
Residents in the local area on Saturday entered facilities
at the 330,000 bpd oilfield to demonstrate. The field also
provides crude for a 120,000 bpd refinery, a National Oil Corp
(NOC) official said on Monday.
Oil exports at the Mellitah terminal, owned by NOC and
Italy's Eni, have been suspended due to a protest by
the Amazigh group, or Berber tribesmen, demanding more political
rights, sources at the terminal operator and oil traders said.
The protest began on Sunday and turned into a stand-off on
Monday with other local residents who wanted to keep the port in
operation to ensure that gas and fuel supplies arrive to support
the strained power grid, Libyan port sources said.
The 130,000 bpd El Feel field, which feeds the port, was
still operational, trading and local sources said.
Loadings at the eastern Brega terminal were still suspended
after power problems forced most of the output to be shut over a
week ago, shipping and trading sources said.
"Brega production is very low, so no exports," one of the
(Additional reporting by Ghaith Shennib in Tripoli and Alice
Baghdjian in Zurich. Editing by Jason Neely, Jane Baird and