Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Libya's Zueitina Oil restarts production - NOC


http://www.marketwatch.com/story/libyas-zueitina-oil-restarts-production-noc-2011-10-18

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Zueitina Oil Co., has become the latest Libyan oil company to restart crude production and is now pumping about 30,000 barrels a day, the country's oil chief said Tuesday.

In an interview, National Oil Co. chairman Nuri Berruien said output at Zueitina resumed about two weeks ago and has now reached about half its prewar level of 60,000 barrels a day. Occidental Petroleum Corp. /quotes/zigman/236880/quotes/nls/oxy OXY +1.15% and OMV AG have minority stakes in Zueitina.

Occidental didn't return a request for comment on the resumption of output at Zueitina. An OMV spokesman declined to comment on the situation at Zueitina.

The news comes after an announcement earlier Tuesday by Germany's Wintershall Holding GmbH that it had restarted 20,000 barrels a day of oil production at Libyan concessions it jointly owns with Russia's OAO Gazprom . State-owned Arabian Gulf Oil Co., or Agoco, France's Total SA /quotes/zigman/167990/quotes/nls/tot TOT -0.10% and Italy's Eni SpA /quotes/zigman/130557/quotes/nls/e E +0.21% resumed production last month.

Libya is now producing about a quarter of its prewar output of 1.6 million barrels a day, as oilfields are brought back on line following the toppling of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in August.

Berruien also said that Agoco, which operates several fields in the east of the country, is in the process of restarting production from its Hamada and Beida oilfields. Agoco had said that corrosion of oilfield facilities had delayed the resumption of output at the two fields, which had a prewar production of 10,000 barrels a day each.

Agoco has shipped a total of 4 million barrels in tankers from its export terminal of Tobruk since it started producing oil again last month, Berruien said.

Some of Libya's production, however, isn't reaching international markets but satisfying the country's own needs as it returns to normal.

The first shipment of the 41,000-barrels-a-day Al-Jurf, which restarted operations last month, went to the Zawyia refinery and the second will follow suit to the same plant in a couple of days, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for Total, which owns a stake in Al-Jurf, confirmed the first tanker had been loaded but declined to comment further.

Berruien also said that Libya will restart production from its Ras Lanuf oil refinery towards the end of the year, when additional production from Agoco and Zueitina fields that supply the refinery is high enough. Ras Lanuf is the largest refinery in the country, with a capacity of 220,000 barrels a day.

Some oil fields, however, have yet to restart due to security concerns. The 50,000-barrels-a-day Mabruk field, which Total shares with Libya's National Oil Co, hasn't restarted because the owners are waiting for Gadhafi's last stronghold Sirte, 120 kiolmeters north, to fall. Fighting continued in Sirte on Tuesday. A spokesman for Total, which has a stake in Mabruk, said security was its first priority.

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