TOBRUCK Libya (Reuters) - Libya’s eastern Hariga oil port has fully recovered from eight months of blockades by protesters and is exporting more than 120,000 barrels a day, port officials said.
Hariga, located in Tobruk near the border with Egypt, reopened in April with three other eastern ports, under deal with a group of rebels which had ended a protest to demand regional autonomy.
“We are back to normal. The port is operating normally,” Hariga terminal manager Rajab Abdulrasoul told Reuters. “We just exported one million (barrels) to China.”
The progress at Hariga is part of Libya’s oil sector recovery with national production now back to 900,000 bpd, despite the political turmoil that is increasing fears it is edging toward civil war.
Hariga port was slow to restart as the connecting Sarir and Messla fields needed to increase production and a group of security guards started a brief new protest to make financial demands, part of political chaos three years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
Abdulrasoul said the southern Sarir field was pumping around 80,000 bpd. Sarir was running below its capacity of more than 200,000 bpd because the connected eastern Ras Lanuf refinery had not restarted work yet since the end of the rebel blockage, he said.
Some 20,000 bpd was used to feed the Tobruk refinery which supplies the local market and also exports some products mainly to southern Europe.
“The rest is being exported,” Abdulrasoul said.
In August, 3.845 million barrels of crude, or around 124,000 bpd a day on average, was lifted from Hariga. In September, 2.72 million barrels, or some 129,000 bpd, left the port until the 21th, the latest pot data showed.
Tankers came from Italy, Croatia, Britain, Singapore, Liberia and Malta, according to details provided by the port administration.
The oil industry remains vulnerable to protests as the government is unable to control former rebels who helped oust Gaddafi.
An armed group seized the capital Tripoli in August, forcing the elected parliament to move to Tobruk, a remote city which has mostly escaped the country’s chaos.
Tobruk’s refinery, also located at the oil port, exported 77,546 barrels of diesel and 123,026 barrels of untreated naphtha until September 21th, the data showed.