Second Tanker Waits to Load Oil at Libya's Reopened Port
A second tanker is waiting to load oil at Libya's Es Sider port, state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Thursday, as the country's biggest crude export terminal swung back into action after being closed for a year.
The OPEC member's oil production has risen in the past few weeks as major ports in the east have resumed work under a deal with a group of federalist rebels, adding to a crude market that is already well supplied.
A first tanker has been loading oil at Es Sider since Wednesday but a second had already arrived, NOC spokesman Mohamed El Harari said. "The other tanker is waiting."
Technical problems and mistrust between the rebels campaigning for regional autonomy and the government had delayed implementing an oil port deal but output has risen to 562,000 barrels per day (bpd), NOC said on Tuesday. This is well above lows of barely 100,000 bpd seen earlier this year, but still well short of levels of about 1.4 million bpd a year ago.
Traders and shipping sources expect several more cargoes to be shipped by companies with stakes in the Waha Oil Co, which runs the Es Sider port and connected oilfields, such as Marathon Oil Corp, Hess Corp and ConocoPhillips (COP). Austria's OMV AG is also expected to lift a cargo.
The North African country badly needs higher exports to cover budget needs as oil is the only source of income.
The Es Sider port currently holds some 4.5 million barrels in storage, but once the tanks are emptied, the connected oilfields can restart production, officials have said.
(Reporting by Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Urquhart)