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Libya’s oil industry lifts force majeure on its biggest oilfield

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Pipelines are seen at Zueitina oil terminal, in west of Benghazi, Libya, February 3, 2020. © Reuters / Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Eastern Libyan forces will resume oil production, commander Haftar says

The NOC’s announcement comes more than three weeks after Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar said he would lift the blockade on fields and ports following a deal with the Tripoli-based, UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The NOC lifted the force majeure on the oil terminals and restarted production from certain fields it considered “safe” shortly after the agreement was reached, but some major facilities, such as the Sharara oilfield, remained offline.

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Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government patrol the area in Zamzam, near Abu Qareen, Libya, September 15, 2020. © Reuters / Ayman Al-Sahili
Libya’s future ‘is at stake,’ UN chief warns, urging states to stop arming rival governments

Since the blockade was lifted and production partly resumed, Libya’s crude output has reportedly hit nearly 300,000 barrels a day. Sharara could add another 300,000 barrels to the nation’s daily crude output once it is restored to full capacity. The NOC previously ended force majeure on the deposit in early June, but it was closed again shortly thereafter.  

The war-torn country sits on the biggest oil reserves in Africa, and can pump out around 1.2 billion barrels a day. While ramping up oil exports will ease the strain on the Libyan economy, with lost nearly $10 billion in revenue due the energy infrastructure blockade, the extra supply may become another problem for the global oil market.

Oil prices tumbled this year as demand fell due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In an attempt to boost prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies led by Russia (together known as OPEC+), cut production in May, and the curbs are still in place.

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