Protests have interrupted crude loadings at Libya’s Marsa el-Hariga terminal, in the third disruption at the country’s eastern ports this week.

If Es Sider exports remain blocked, traders estimate that tight storage availability means NOC subsidiary Waha Oil, whose output feeds into the Es Sider grade, only has a handful of days before it has to resort to lowering production.

Two main onshore eastern ports remain in operation — Marsa el-Brega and Zueitina. A defence analyst said that unrest could be gaining momentum in the Fezzan region, and this could impact the 300,000 bpd El Sharara and the 90,000 bpd capacity El Feel oil fields, although no disruption has been reported there so far.

Shipping and trade sources said protesters at Marsa el-Hariga refused to allow the berthing and loading of the tanker Mikela P, after students had started demonstrations at the terminal demanding work opportunities.

Libya’s state-owned NOC attempted to defuse the situation by launching a graduate training scheme aimed at providing employment. Marsa el-Hariga typically loads Sarir and Mesla crude produced by eastern NOC subsidiary Agoco.

Two other eastern Libya ports have also been affected by protests in recent days. Crude loadings have been interrupted at Es Sider port, which loads the country’s namesake flagship grade, by demonstrators calling for the dismissal of NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla.

The tanker Yannis P, which was briefly allowed into the port for berthing, has now been instructed to head back to anchorage, shipping sources said.

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10th September 2021