(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The largest oil terminal in Libya is likely to reopen sometime next week in hopes that the increase in oil revenue will provide relief to the struggling Libyan economy.
Maintenance work at Es Sider port is nearly complete and the port could potentially be ready to load tankers next week, said an official from the Libyan National Oil Corporation on Tuesday.
Two years ago the Es Sider port was placed under force majeure, which halted oil production at the facility after ongoing clashes between rival militia groups got out of control.
Following the civil unrest in Libya which began in 2011, oil production dropped to about 660,000 barrels of oil per day. Production began to drop when international oil companies began to pull out as the civil conflict in Libya intensified.
The first oil export of of oil, consisting of 781,000 barrels, since force majeure was issued in December 2014 left the Ras Lanuf oil port on September 21.
Nine cargoes are expected to be shipped out this month from Brega oil port in eastern Libya, according to Bloomberg.
Ghaith Abdul Qader, an official from the Es Sider port control department, said that the NOC has not given direct orders to resume oil exports.
Last month, oil production was restarted at Es Sider by Al-Waha Oil Corporation, the oil company operating the terminal and now produces 65,000 barrels of oil a day, according to Abdul Qader. He also added that Al-Waha has been using oil storage tanks from Harouge Oil Operations Corporation to store the oil it has been producing.
It has been five years since Libya’s oil industry was operating at full capacity and only recently were Libyans able to reopen the country’s major oil ports to resume oil production and exports.
Before the 2011 uprising, Libya was producing around 1.6 million barrels per day. However, as the violence in the oil rich country escalated, oil fields and ports were shut down as vying militia groups attempted to take possession of the country’s main source of revenue.
The escalating violence put the oil fields and ports under force majeure, which legally prevents a group from being held liable when the situation is out of their hands.
Force majeure for Zueitina oil port, along with Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports, was lifted by the NOC on September 14 when a deal was agreed upon by the state oil company and Haftar, who recently took possession of the ports by force.