LONDON Oct 30 Libyan crude oil exports showed
little improvement on Wednesday after falling to a trickle this
week, except for one tanker that was expected to load condensate
from the small western port of Mellitah, trading sources said.
Over the weekend, Libya's two western ports of Zawiya and
Mellitah suspended oil exports, on top of the closures of its
Exports from the OPEC producer have fallen to around 90,000
barrels per day (bpd) from the two offshore oil platforms, Al
Jurf and Bouri, or less than 10 percent of its 1.25 million bpd
Meanwhile, its eastern ports showed no sign of re-opening.
Brega port in the east, which is technically open, cannot export
due to low oil output at nearby fields.
Production was at 20,000 bpd from Brega fields, a senior
official of the state National Oil Corp (NOC) said, citing
strikes as the reason for the production drop. Last week, local
Libyan sources and traders said that flows had fallen due
largely to electricity supply problems.
There was no sign that the El Sharara oilfield, which
supplies the Zawiya terminal with crude, had resumed.
Several market sources said the Makronissos tanker,
chartered by Trafigura and next in line, had been given
instructions to berth at the Mellitah terminal to load
condensate after protesters at the port gave permission.
Reuters AIS Live ship tracking showed, however, the tanker,
which has been anchored off the coast since mid-October, had
moved closer to the port since Tuesday but had again switched
off its engines almost two miles offshore.
Traders said it was not yet clear whether this loading would
be successful, nor whether more vessels would call on the port,
given the ongoing stand-off with the Amazigh minority group,
also known as Berbers.
"We believe that a resumption of the production and exports
at the Sharara oil field and the Mellitah port is likely to
require weeks, due to the political nature of this protest by
non-Arab minority groups," Riccardo Fabbiani, North Africa
analyst at Eurasia Group consultancy, said in a note.
"The government is likely to offer guarantees on language
and minority rights and citizenship ... Although this will fall
short of meeting their requests," he added.
FOREIGN INVESTORS CUT OUTLOOK
Italian oil and gas group Eni said it expected its
2013 output to be lower than in 2012 due to Libyan and Nigerian
disruptions. The company is the largest foreign major in Libya
through Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint venture with NOC.
Before the 2011 civil war, the venture produced around
270,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of natural gas and
crude oil, most of it for export.
U.S.-based producer Hess meanwhile reported a
lower-than-expected third-quarter profit due to Libyan unrest.
The company is one of three stakeholders in the Waha Oil Co
in eastern Libya, which had produced 320,000 to 340,000 bpd of
its main export grade Es Sider.
The main export terminal for the light sweet Es Sider grade
has been blocked by an armed group of former guards since the
end of July. Fields had to be shut down soon after when storage
tanks reached capacity.
Marathon and ConocoPhillips are also in the
Waha venture with NOC. Marathon attempted a stake sale earlier
this year but these plans were scuppered by the NOC.