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Pre-election protests hit Libyan crude output

A protest by self-proclaimed autonomous council in Eastern Libya has reduced oil output by around 19 per cent per day

Reuters, Friday 6 Jul 2012
A worker adjusts the valve of an oil pipe at Zawiya oil refinery west of Tripoli (Photo: Reuters)
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Libyan oil output has been reduced by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) as protests by groups demanding greater autonomy for eastern Libya a day before national elections have blocked operations at some oil terminals, an official said.

The protests, combined with other storage and market-related factors, have pushed output down to 1.3 million bpd from the level of nearly 1.6 million bpd to which production has steadily climbed since the end of last year's civil war.

"You are talking about a shortage in daily production of about 300,000, plus or minus," NOC Chairman Nuri Berruien told Reuters by telephone.

He said political protesters had prevented the lifting of crude from certain terminals in the east, such as Al-Sidra and around Ras Lanuf and cited storage and market factors as reasons for the cut.

"There were additional cuts due to this unrest. It has nothing to do with the oil sector," he said.

"Some people are stopping the lifting of crude... And accordingly the companies have to reduce their production because some of the tanks are full," he said.

He said the disruption by protesters had begun on Thursday evening. He said some of his staff had been told the disruption would last 48 hours.

Berruien would not be drawn on who the protesters were. A self-proclaimed autonomous council for Libya's oil-producing eastern province has called on people in the region to boycott the July 7 election for a national assembly, saying it will not give adequate representation to the east.

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