Fighting between factions in Libya threatens another port in the embattled country
Fighting between Libya’s competing governments has spread to a third oil port, curbing gas exports to Italy and cutting crude production to less than what is necessary to cover the country’s own domestic requirements, Reuters reported.
Libya has had two governments and parliaments since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital of Tripoli in August by expelling a rival faction, installing its own prime minister and forcing the internationally recognized cabinet to operate out of the east with the elected House of Representatives.
While Tripoli has been largely quiet for months, clashes erupted more than a week ago near the two biggest oil export ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, when a force allied to Tripoli’s self-declared government moved east to try and seize the terminals.
Both Es Sider and Ras Lanuf are located in central-eastern Libya. The Es Sider port is supplied mainly by the Waha, Samath, Dahra and Gialo fields, which are all operated by Waha Oil Company, with ConocoPhillips (ticker: COP), Marathon (ticker: MRO) and Hess (ticker: HES) as the lead foreign partners. The Ras Lanuf port is supplied by the Nafoura, As Sarah/Jakhira, Nakhla, Amal, Naga and Farigh fields and operated by Agoco, Wintershall and Harouje with Wintershall, Gazprom (ticker: OGZPY) and Suncor (ticker: SU) as the lead foreign partners, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Typically, 70% to 80% of Libya’s crude oil is sold to European countries. In 2013, Libya exported an average of 875 MBOPD and consumed an average of 248 MBOPD, according to the EIA. Its oil and gas sector accounts for roughly 60% of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product, says the OPEC web site.
The connected oil and gas fields ofEs Sider and Ras Lanuf have stopped functioning due to fighting in the region, lowering oil output by an estimated 300 MBOPD from the 1,400 MBOPD before last summer. This fighting has now spread west of Tripoli, close to yet another gas port, Mellitah, operated by Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) and Italy’s ENI (ticker: E).
“NOC is worried about the events happening at the Mellitah oil and gas port,” it said in a statement. A spokesman said the port remained open but declined to comment further, according to Reuters.
Fighting between rival factions for control of the North African country has been persisting since the Gaddafi regime was toppled in 2011.
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