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Libyan Oilfield Suffers Distribution Delay Amid Protest Threats

Source: Reuters 5/23/2018, Location: Africa

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Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) said there had been a “minor distribution delay” from Raguba field but production was unaffected despite threats from protesters, who also targeted a second field.

The distribution problem between the 5,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) Raguba field and the port of Brega happened on Tuesday, but production continued into on-site storage, the NOC said in a statement to Reuters.

In a potential escalation, protesters from the same group said they had called on workers at a second oilfield, Waha, to halt output and ask for state support - a common refrain in the North African country in turmoil since 2011.

It was unclear whether production at Waha had actually been stopped.

Both oilfields are in the remote Marada region of eastern Libya where protesters have demanded that authorities urgently deal with grievances over the absence of government, a shortage of healthcare and other services.

“National Oil Corporation can confirm that oil production at the Raguba oilfield is ongoing despite threats by local protesters to shut down the field,” the statement said.

“No technical or infrastructure damage to the field or wells was incurred.”

The NOC also thanked local groups “for their support in bringing this matter to a close following a meeting with protesters”.

Earlier, a spokesman for NOC subsidiary Sirte Oil Co had said production from Raguba had been blocked by protesters who had threatened to shut oilfields and pipelines passing through their home region of Marada unless authorities improved state services.

Production at Sirte Oil stands at about 61,000 bpd.

A pipeline of the Waha oil company, an NOC joint venture with foreign firms, running through Marada feeds the Es Sider port. Waha pumps around 260,000 bpd, officials have said.

Some youths had also protested at Marada town’s lack of road links to other communities and demanded jobs, officials have said, a common grievance in Libya. The nation, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has been in turmoil since the toppling of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Armed groups have twice blown up the pipeline near Marada since December as security in the remote eastern area is volatile.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli in Benghazi and Aidan Lewis in Cairo; Writing by Aidan Lewis and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Dale Hudson and Susan Fenton

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