TRIPOLI, Sept 19 Libya's National Oil
Corporation (NOC) called on Monday for the reopening of
pipelines from major oil fields in the south west of the
Last week the NOC said it would restart exports from the
eastern "Oil Crescent" ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and
Zueitina, which were seized on Sept. 11-12 by forces loyal to
eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla has said he hopes developments
at the Oil Crescent ports could herald a breakthrough in efforts
to revive production across the country.
He has called for a "new phase of cooperation" between
Libya's factions, and for the end of the blockade as a political
"The events in the Oil Crescent must have made it clear to
everybody that the use of blockade as a tactic in (Libyan)
politics is a dead end," Sanalla said on Monday.
Protests by the southern branch of the Petroleum Facilities
Guard (PFG) that shut the pipelines had cost $27 billion in lost
production, he said.
Libya is highly dependent on oil export revenues and needs
to revive production to prevent economic collapse.
Armed conflict, political disputes and damage to
infrastructure have left oil output at a fraction of the of 1.6
barrels per day (bpd) it was producing before a 2011 uprising.
The NOC wants to revive production from less than 300,000
bpd to 600,000 bpd within a month and at least 900,000 bpd by
the end of the year, though those targets face major political
and security challenges.
On Sunday Haftar's forces repelled a counter attack at Es
Sider and Ras Lanuf by an armed faction that previously
controlled the terminals and had blockaded them for several
A tanker that had docked in Ras Lanuf - the first to do so
since at least late 2014 - was withdrawn to a safe distance
because of the clashes. The tanker, the Seadelta, and a second
tanker, the Syra, were off Ras Lanuf on Monday and a port
official said loading was due to start late afternoon.
The NOC says its production targets depend on it receiving
fresh funds for its operating budget, on the ports staying open,
and on a blockade of pipelines from the south western Sharara
and El Feel fields ending.
A pipeline connecting El Feel to Zawiya refinery was closed
in November 2014 and a pipeline connecting Sharara to the
Mellitah complex was shut in April 2015.
If the pipelines were reopened, Sanalla said the NOC could
increase production from the two fields to 250,000 bpd by the
end of the year and to 365,000 bpd by the middle of 2017.
"There is a growing consensus that our oil can be a force
for unity," Sanalla said in a statement. "It is the only
resource available to us to finance our reconstruction."
(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami and Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by
Aidan Lewis, editing by William Hardy)