* Protesters say they have left oilfields
* Potential for 500,000 barrels per day rise in output
* Deadlock continues over eastern ports
(Adds protest spokesman confirmation para 5 and details)
TRIPOLI, May 12 Libya's western oilfields and
pipelines will reopen on Monday evening after protesters ended a
blockade, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said, potentially
raising Libyan crude output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The major oil-producing fields of El Sharara, El Feel and
Wafa, as well as the pipelines connecting them to the Zawiya
port, will all reopen on Monday, as will the Mellitah
condensates line, NOC spokesman Mohamed al-Harari said.
"The protesters have announced that their blockade is over
and all the lines in the west will reopen tonight," he said.
The pipeline network in the west of Libya has been closed by
protesters since March, forcing the shutdown of the oilfields,
including the 340,000 bpd El Sharara.
A spokesperson for protesters at El Sharara, Muftah Yahmid
told Reuters they reached a deal with the help of tribal elders
and had turned the field over to control of a PFG oil guard unit
after ending their protest.
"We have left the field because of the current situation in
Libya and also because of government promises to meet our
demands," he said. "The field is under the control of the PFG
He said protest demands had included more investment in
local water and tourism facilities, and for health treatment and
A Libyan government deal to reopen major oil ports
controlled by a separate rebel movement in the east looks likely
to unravel, however, over opposition to the appointment of a new
Islamist-backed prime minister.
The deal to reopen two of the four blocked ports was reached
in early April. Since then, the smaller Hariga and Zueitina
terminals have resumed oil exports, but the two larger ports of
Ras Lanuf and Es Sider remain shut pending negotiations over the
distribution of oil wealth.
Three years after the revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi,
Libya's oil infrastructure is a target for protests, shutdowns
and strikes by brigades of former rebels who refuse to disarm or
recognise the state's authority.
Oil and gas are the main source of Libya's income and of the
hard currency needed to fund essential food imports. Production
was about 1.4 million bpd until mid-2013 when the protests
began, reducing it to little more than 200,000 bpd.
(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; Editing by William