TRIPOLI, June 8 (Reuters) – Libya is still able to supply its 120,000-bpd Zawiya refinery without drawing on oil from two offshore fields, an oil ministry official said on Sunday.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) said Libya might have to use oil from offshore fields Al Jurf and Bouri to feed the refinery which supplies western Libya with fuel products.
The offshore oil is one of the last export sources for a government struggling with a wave of protests at oilfields and ports that began last summer.
But a senior oil ministry official told Reuters Brega port in the east was still producing enough to supply the refinery.
The Al Jurf and Bouri offshore fields, producing around 80,000 bpd, have been unaffected so far by 10 months of nationwide oil protests.
Many petrol stations in the capital Tripoli are closed. Oil officials blame the fuel shortage on bad weather delaying the arrival of fresh imports.
The situation should improve within 24 hours after the arrival of a tanker last night, an official in state firm Brega, which supplies the local market, told local television stations.
As for the rest of the North African country, protesters are still blocking either the export terminals or the oilfields themselves in order to prevent any other exports.
A group of federalists, led by 2011 civil war veteran Ibrahim al-Jathran, allowed two of the four eastern ports they were blocking since end-July 2013 to reopen after an initial government deal in April.
But oil guards blocked one of them again last week. They have prevented two tankers from loading at Hariga over unpaid salaries, though oil officials said these have now been transferred.
The other reopened port of Zueitina ran out of crude in May after storage was emptied by eager buyers while production at the connecting oilfields has not yet resumed.
Zawiya refinery depends on oil from the major western El Sharara oilfield, which has been shut down since March. Crude coming from the eastern Brega port was being used as an alternative feedstock.
(Reporting by Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Stephen Powell)
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