Libya oil output could fall if Hariga port dispute continues

A general view of the Marsa al Hariga oil port in the city of Tobruk, Libya, August 20, 2013. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Libya may be forced to cut oil production within days if a stand-off between eastern and western factions that has prevented loadings at the Marsa al-Hariga port continues, an official from oil firm NOC in Tripoli told Reuters on Thursday.

The Tripoli-based NOC official said that remaining storage capacity at the port was limited and filling up fast.

An official from the Marsa al-Hariga port said that tanks at Hariga were 7-10 days away from reaching their full capacity.

With no tankers loading crude at the port, Libya will be forced to shut in around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production, or the export capacity of the port.

OPEC member Libya is already producing less than a quarter of the 1.6 million bpd it produced in 2011.

Libya has two competing governments, one in Tripoli and one in the east of the country. The eastern administration has set up its own National Oil Corporation in parallel to the Tripoli-based NOC and has tried and failed so far to export crude independently.

The Tripoli-based NOC official said that negotiations were underway to resolve a dispute between eastern and western factions that has prevented a tanker belonging to trading company Glencore from loading at Hariga.

The Seachance was originally due to load a 600,000-barrel cargo on April 26-28. Reuters tracking shows the tanker waiting outside the port.

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar. Additional reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli in Benghazi.; Editing by Jason Neely and Jane Merriman