Libya could restart 90,000 b/d Elephant field after reaching deal with guards
Having fallen nearly 40% since the end of February, Libyan crude oil output could bounce back to around 1 million b/d with the restart of the 90,000 b/d Elephant oil field, after Petroleum Facilities Guards agreed to allow workers to resume operations.
State-owned National Oil Corp. declared a force majeure on crude deliveries from the field on February 23, after it was shut and staff evacuated due to protests by local tribes and guards.
However, the PFG said on its Facebook page late Wednesday that it had agreed to reopen the field, also known as El-Feel, and allow staff to return to work.
Although the PFG staff members are returning to El-Feel, there has been no confirmation so far that NOC is sending its workers back to the field. NOC declined to comment on its status, and the force majeure remains in place for now.
El-Feel is operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint venture by the NOC and Italy’s Eni. Production had been around 72,000 b/d prior to the shutdown. Crude from El-Feel is blended with condensate from the Wafa field to produce Mellitah export blend, with an API gravity of 41.6 degrees.
SHARARA PRODUCTION RESUMES
The 340,000 b/d Sharara oil field, Libya’s largest, and the nearby 12,500 b/d Hamada field lies, along with El-Feel, in the southwestern Murzuq Basin. Sharara was closed briefly on Sunday when a landowner shut off a valve at the field’s main export pipeline. This led to a shut-in at the Hamada field. Crude from Sharara, El-Feel and Hamada is pumped through the same pipeline to the 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery and the Zawiya export terminal.
Libyan production averaged just over 1 million b/d until late February, but fell by almost 380,000 b/d, or around 40%, in the past week with all three fields closed. The drop highlights the continued fragility of Libya’s oil sector. All three fields have been subject to repeated closures over the last few years due to protests and attacks on export pipelines.
Sharara, which was producing around 300,000 b/d, was offline for just over 24 hours, leading to the loss of nearly 500,000 barrels of crude, NOC said in a statement. It has now been restarted and sources said was pumping at the previous level, it added.