Libya suspends oil shipments from key port amid political crisis

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Libya’s state oil company suspended shipments from the key eastern port of Ras Lanuf, according to people familiar with the matter, amid a worsening political crisis in the OPEC member.

The National Oil Corp. informed trading and shipping firms on Tuesday of force majeure restrictions at the terminal, one of the largest in Libya, the people said.

The move came a day after the NOC said it may have to halt exports from the Gulf of Sirte, which includes Ras Lanuf and other ports such as Es Sider, Brega and Zueitina.

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While it’s unclear is Es Sider will also be placed under force majeure, the production of Waha Oil Co., which uses the terminal, has almost completely shut down.

The NOC, which owns Waha Oil, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The drop in Libya’s supply is further tightening the global oil market. Crude prices have soared 50 percent this year to around $115 a barrel, largely due to the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many major producers are also struggling to sustain their output.

Libya’s crude production has halved since mid-April to 600,000 barrels a day, according to Bloomberg estimates.

The country is grappling with protests that have forced many oil fields and ports to shut down. It’s been mired in conflict since the fall of president Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

There’s now a standoff between two politicians - Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha - who each claim to be the legitimate prime minister.

The recent closures are linked to politics, with protesters at energy facilities demanding the transfer of power to Bashagha.

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