UPDATE 3-Libya oil cargo stuck off US coast due sanctions-trade

Tue Mar 1, 2011 10:58pm GMT

* Cargo of Libyan crude in USG arrived before sanctions

* Libya accounts for small portion of U.S. oil imports

* Treasury Dept license may be possible for transaction (Adds comments from U.S. Dept of Treasury)

By Janet McGurty and Jonathan Saul

NEW YORK/LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - A cargo of Libyan crude is sitting off the coast of Texas and Louisiana and unable to discharge due to concerns about potential violations of recently imposed U.S. sanctions against Libya, trade sources said on Tuesday.

Market sources said the ship was off the U.S. Gulf Coast's refinery row, on the border of Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Libya accounts for a small percentage of U.S. imports. In 2010, the United States imported about 43,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from the OPEC nation, out of average imports of nearly 9.2 million bpd for the year.

A U.S. Treasury Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the specific case reported by Reuters involving the Libyan crude cargo.

However, she said in cases where Libyan goods were in transit on or before Friday, when Obama signed the executive order imposing sanctions on Gaddafi's regime, the purchasing party can apply to the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for a license granting permission to complete the transaction.   Continued...

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