Libyan Gas Field Operational After Strike


Published May 3, 2015 4:46 PM by Reuters

Protesters at Libya's eastern port of Brega agreed a deal on Sunday to end their strike, Libya's state-run Sirte Oil Co said, clearing the way for the Irda natural gas field to resume production.

Gripped by chaos four years after the ousting of leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's oil and gas sector has suffered a sharp fall in output, hurting state finances and causing power shortages.

Ports, oil and gas fields close on a regular basis as armed factions fight for control or protesters seize them to press authorities with financial or political demands.

"We have reached an agreement with the protesters to end their strike," the Sirte Oil spokesman said, without giving details of the deal. Protesters had demanded jobs at the oil company and had prevented staff from working at the company's headquarters.

The Irda field has also resumed work, the National Oil Corp (NOC) confirmed. The state-run NOC had warned last week that the nearby Sahel gas field might also close if the protest continued.

The two fields produce a combined 150 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Much of Libya's oil exports are routed through the east as protests have shut down the two largest western oil fields, El Sharara and El Feel.

The eastern port of Hariga will export 2.6 million barrels of oil this week, an oil official said. One tanker had just left after lifting one million barrels, while two others, one to lift one million and a second to lift 600,000 barrels, were expected in the coming days.

The port's oil exports in the past four months were 5.6 million barrels of crude, the official said. A tanker bringing 25,000 imported tons of fuel for local consumption was also docked at Hariga.

At the eastern port of Zueitina, a tanker was lifting 700,000 barrels of oil, another oil official said. The terminal has exported 2.75 million barrels in the past four months.

"Both ports are working normally," officials said.

The western Wafa oil and gas field, which usually produces 30,000 bpd of oil condensates, was working normally, a spokesman for NOC said. The same group blocking the El Feel field had also threatened to shut down Wafa's production, which would stop gas exports to Italy, according to NOC.