* Disruptions at some Libyan ports still continuing
* Concerns that violence could escalate further
(Adds comment, detail, background)
By Jonathan Saul and Renee Maltezou
LONDON/ATHENS, March 2 At least 2.4 million
barrels of crude oil in four tankers have left Libyan ports in
the past 24 hours despite mounting violence in Africa's third
largest producer, shipping and trade sources said on Wednesday.
Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attacked the major oil
export terminal of Marsa El Brega in the first sign of a
counter-offensive by Libya's leader in the rebel-controlled
east, which rebels said they had repulsed. [ID:nLDE72115X]
As fighting continues across Libya, the oil industry is
trying to assess the output lost, with outage estimates
currently around 800,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Shipping and trade sources said two cargoes were exported
from the port of Zawiyah close to Tripoli with another sailing
from Zueitina in the east in the past 24 hours.
A further cargo left from Marsa el Brega earlier on
Wednesday despite clashes there.
"We had a tanker in Zueitina, which left yesterday," a Greek
shipping source said. "We hear that most ports are open, some
are under operating but are open. Some were forced to shut due
to bad weather, but crude oil is leaving the country."
Shipping and trade sources said on Monday crude oil
shipments were at a virtual standstill due to bad weather and
other disruptions. But since then tankers have been loading
crude oil and various types of oil products.
The sources said at least two tankers were waiting to pick
up cargoes in Zawiyah and Mellitah. "Zawiyah is working normally
and our ship left this morning," one source said.
The sources said more than 2 million barrels of crude were
exported between Monday and Tuesday. [ID:nLDE7202K9]
Crude oil traders said the port of Es Sider was also
But ongoing communications difficulties with phones and
internet issues with Libya had led to some cargoes being
cancelled this week, shipping sources said.
It was also unclear if some terminals were still receiving
oil. Teekay Tankers (TNK.N) said on Tuesday one of its vessels
had received only half a cargo at the major port of Ras Lanuf.
Factbox on Libyan oil production [ID:nLDE72018W]
Libyan oil map r.reuters.com/jem28r
Oil choke points: link.reuters.com/cuh38r
Map of Libya towns and incidents:
Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation,
said on Wednesday the country's oil output had fallen to 700,000
to 750,000 bpd due to the worst crisis for Libya's oil industry
in decades. [ID:nSGE72103A]
Anti-Gaddafi forces have been firmly in charge of eastern
Libya up to Marsa El Brega and some areas beyond, since shortly
after anti-government protests erupted in mid-February.
"There are more clashes on land, which makes it unsafe for
people to work and I think the situation has been worse today,"
said a shipper who moved a cargo on Wednesday. "The flow of oil
might be reduced further."
(Additional reporting by Emma Farge and Alex Lawler in London;
writing by Jonathan Saul; editing by James Jukwey)