Libya’s oil output disrupted by security threats, shut port
Cairo, Egypt - Libya’s biggest oil field has reduced crude production by more than 30 per cent in recent days and the Zueitina export terminal ceased loadings over the weekend, throwing the OPEC country’s output back on a downward spiral.
Output at the Sharara field was down to 200,000 barrels a day on Sunday, compared with 300,000 barrels a day about a week ago, a person familiar with the matter said on Sunday, asking not to be identified. Workers were being kept from certain areas for their own safety after two company vehicles were stolen at gunpoint, the person said. Zueitina port ceased loading on Saturday after employees demanded better working conditions, according to Merhi Abridan, head of the worker’s union.
The country’s crude production may be further hampered by the port halt. Zueitina is the export terminal of Zueitina Oil Co, a joint venture between Libya’s state-run National Oil Corp (NOC), Occidental Petroleum Corp and Vienna-based OMV AG, according to its website. Zueitina exports an average of six crude cargoes a month, each 600,000 to 630,000 barrels, according to Abridan.
Employees are demanding that Zueitina Oil and NOC pay 20 months of delayed salary, Abridan said by phone on Saturday. Workers will not receive a tanker due to arrive at the port on August 19 if their demands aren’t met, he said.