Tanker to Libya’s Biggest Oil Port Diverted to Avoid Conflict

An oil tanker that was scheduled to load crude at Libya’s Es Sider port changed its course to a different terminal in the west of the country as clashes in the eastern region keep the main export terminals out of service. Waha Oil Co. halted production due to the conflict.

The tanker Overseas Redwood, originally due to load 630,000 barrels of crude at Es Sider on Thursday, will arrive instead at the port of Zawiya, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Production from Waha Oil. Co., a joint venture between the state oil company National Oil Corp., Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, is now suspended as key ports have been closed for almost a week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because of a lack of permission to speak to media.

Libya’s total crude output remains unchanged at 671,000 barrels a day as increases in production from other companies, including Arabian Gulf Oil Co., have countered the decline from Waha’s fields, Jadalla Alaokali, a board member at the NOC said Wednesday.
Militia Group

The Petroleum Facilities Guard, a United Nations-backed force, said Tuesday it took control of oil installations at Es Sider, the country’s biggest oil port, and Ras Lanuf, its third-largest, following their capture by a militia group called the Benghazi Defense Brigades earlier this month. The ports had previously been controlled by eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

The North African nation has sought to boost crude exports after fighting among rival militias hobbled oil production following the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Al Qaddafi. The conflict showed signs of calming in recent months, and oil output rose to about 700,000 barrels a day in February from 260,000 a day in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s still well below the 1.6 million a day that Libya pumped before Qaddafi’s ouster.

Waha Oil has a capacity of more than 300,000 barrels a day, according to the NOC website. Its production dropped by half to 40,000 barrels a day, two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public, said on March 5.

Ship-tracking data show the Overseas Redwood sailing westward toward Zawiya after it signaled the terminal at Brega, near Es Sider, at the time it changed course. Another tanker, Amalthea, changed its destination on Tuesday to load at Brega instead of Es Sider.
Source: Bloomberg