March 8, 2011 / 6:33 PM / 8 years ago

Libya's Waha Oil production cut sharply on unrest

ES-SIDER, Libya, March 8 (Reuters) - Waha Oil Company’s output has dropped to less than a third of its normal level as ships avoid Libya, halting exports, and as looters have damaged its facilities, senior oil workers at Waha said on Tuesday.

Output at Waha has fallen to 100,000 barrels a day from 380,000 bpd, the worker, who declined to be named, said.

Waha is based at the Es-Sider oil terminal on Libya’s eastern coast, about 180 km from Sirte city. It is owned by Libya’s National Oil Corporation in a joint venture with American firms ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Marathon (MRO.N) and Amerada Hess (HES.N), its website said.

“The ships can’t come here because of the danger. For a week now we haven’t been able to export. A lot of people have come and damaged everything,” the oil worker said.

Around half of Libya’s oil output, or more than 1 percent of global supply, has already been choked off by lethal clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. [ID:nLDE7260G5]. Oil prices hit their highest levels since September 2008 on Monday. [O/R]

Rebels have seized most of eastern Libya, the main oil producing region in the OPEC member, from Gaddafi.

Waha, which once had 600 employees, now has only 25, a Reuters witness said.

Company offices and buildings have been looted.

“It’s the revolutionary people ... they stole the cars, they stole everything,” another senior company worker at Waha said.

“Company workers had tried to park a truck at the gate to keep looters out, but looters had just broken down the fence,” the worker said, adding that as violence escalated in the region in the wake of the protests, ships and tankers departed.

Waha operates four main oil fields; Waha, Dahra, Samah, and Gialo, its website said. The firm has 19 storage tanks, four of which hold 500,000 barrels while the other storage tanks carry 350,000 barrels, one of the company’s senior workers said. (Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Writing by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Alison Birrane)

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