New Libya Oil Chief Mulls Resuming Exports at Eastern Ports

(Bloomberg) -- The new head of the state oil company for eastern Libya is considering restarting exports from the region’s two largest ports and plans to boost crude output.

“Among my priorities will be lifting force majeure at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf,” Nagi Elmagrabi, chairman of the National Oil Corp. for the eastern region, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I will also seek to increase oil production.”

Libya pumped about 1.6 million barrels a day of crude before the 2011 rebellion that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule. Output fell to a quarter of that level this year as militias affiliated with rival governments in the east and west of the country fought for control of oil resources. Tribes and workers seeking jobs and better pay have also blocked operations at fields and pipelines, making the country the smallest producer in OPEC.

The North African nation stopped crude exports from the two ports in December after militias attacked Es Sider, its largest oil terminal. The NOC declared force majeure, a legal status protecting a party from liability if it can’t fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control, at the two ports the same month.

Elmagrabi, an engineer with 26 years of experience in the oil industry, said he plans to meet the head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard, Ibrahim al-Jadran, to assess the security situation and the possibility of resuming exports from the two terminals. Ras Lanuf is Libya’s third-largest oil port.

Tribal Conflicts

NOC will seek to increase crude output from fields in the eastern region, where about half of Libya’s current production is located, with the remainder produced offshore, Elmagrabi said.

Brent advanced 35 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $50.34 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 12:33 p.m. Singapore time on Wednesday.


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