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Libya pumps 30,000 bpd to eastern Hariga port after pipeline repair

A pipeline blast had interrupted oil flows from the Sarir field, the country’s largest, more than a week ago

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Libya has resumed pumping crude from its southeastern Sarir and Messla fields to Hariga port at a rate of around 30,000 barrels a day, an industry source said on Monday, bolstering a potential recovery in exports after Zueitina port opened at the weekend.

Higher oil exports, which had fallen to a trickle as violent conflict between two rival governments and parliaments disrupted supplies, may bring in badly needed revenues for the OPEC member as it faces a growing public finance crisis.

“So far small volumes are flowing,” said Omran Zwei, spokesman for state oil firm operator AGOCO. “The pipeline is holding.”

An industry source said volumes had reached 30,000 barrels on Monday, slightly down from 40,000 barrels hit on Sunday due to a failure of a power turbine station on Monday at the Messla field connected to the Sarir field. The turbine was being fixed, the source said.

A pipeline blast had interrupted oil flows from the Sarir field, the country’s largest, more than a week ago. Operators at Hariga were forced to rely on oil already held in storage tanks to load a tanker that docked last week.

Hariga and Zueitina are under control of troops loyal to the internationally recognized government, which is based in eastern Libya. The proceeds from the oil exports will go to the central bank, which has sought to stay out of the conflict.

Oil exports had fallen to less than 200,000 barrels a day with the closure of the eastern Hariga port due to the pipeline blast a week ago, a fraction of up to 1.3 million barrels Libya exported daily prior to the ousting of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Most Libyan oilfields have stopped working due to the struggle for supremacy between the government in the east and a rival administration that took control of the capital Tripoli last summer.

The first tanker in almost a year loaded crude from the eastern port of Zueitina on Sunday, an oil official said, adding there was not enough oil held in storage for a second loading. It was not immediately clear what the export volumes from Hariga would reach this week. Traders expect initial volumes to be well below capacity as the port ramps up and as supplies from Sarir fill storage tanks.