Libya In Talks To Reopen El Feel, El Sharara Oilfields

Reuters

TRIPOLI, June 16 (Reuters) - Libyan authorities will try during the month of Ramadan to reopen pipelines for El Feel and El Sharara oilfields and Zueitina port that have been blocked for weeks by protests and disputes, the state oil company said on Tuesday.

The two major oilfields and oil terminal have been shuttered by protesters demanding jobs, disputes among security guards and the country's conflict between two rival governments battling for control of the north African OPEC state.

"The efforts are being carried out by elders, local municipalities, and mediators," National Oil Corporation spokesman Mohamed Harari said, adding talks would take place during Ramadan. "If the three pipelines are reopened, the oil production might reach 800,000 barrels per day."

Ramadan is due to start this week.

Negotiations to reopen oilfields and ports in Libya often drag on as the oil industry is constantly under siege from protesters seeking jobs or armed factions trying to pressure their rivals.

The country is caught in a dispute between two rival governments - one internationally recognized in the east and a self-declared one that controls Tripoli since a group called Libyan Dawn took over the capital last year.

Before the 2011 civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya produced more than one million barrels per day. It is now less than half that figure. Officials rarely release national production figures, but one recent estimate put it at 500,000 bpd, according to a state news agency in Tripoli.

Eastern oil company AGOCO said its daily production was around 250,000 and 290,000 bpd despite the continued closure of Nafoura oilfield by protesters demanding jobs, and Bayda oilfield because of electricity problems.

AGOCO Director Omran El-Zwie told Reuters an oil tanker had docked at its Hariga port to load 600,000 barrels of crude. Another tanker was expected to dock on Wednesday at Brega port.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli and Ayman EL-Warfalli in Benghazi; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Susan Thomas)

Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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