(Adds details, background)
TRIPOLI, March 9 Libya's oil output has fallen
to 620,000 barrels per day, a drop of about 80,000 bpd since
clashes erupted around some of the country's major export
terminals, the head of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said
Mustafa Sanalla told Reuters that production by Waha Oil Co,
a joint venture between NOC and foreign partners, had been
entirely halted. Waha pumps oil to Es Sider, one of two ports
that the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) lost control
of last Friday to a rival faction.
A port official at Ras Lanuf, a neighbouring terminal that
the LNA also withdrew from, said that production by another NOC
joint venture, Harouge Oil Operations, had also been affected,
without giving details.
Libyan oil officials say staff at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf
have been reduced to a minimum since a faction known as the
Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) seized them in clashes, and that
the area is effectively a military zone.
The BDB say they have handed the ports over to a Petroleum
Facilities Guard (PFG) force sanctioned by the U.N.-backed
government in Tripoli, and that they would allow oil to flow.
However, the clashes are a new challenge to Libyan efforts
to boost output, which had more than doubled since the LNA took
over the Oil Crescent ports in September and ended a long
Es Sider and Ras Lanuf have a potential joint capacity of
600,000 bpd, but had been exporting a fraction of that partly
due to damage in previous violence.
National production earlier this week had been relatively
stable at around 670,000 bpd.
Brega and Zueitina, two other ports on the stretch of
coastline southwest of Benghazi known as the Oil Crescent,
remain under LNA control.
Waha Oil Co is a joint venture between the NOC, Marathon Oil
Corp, Hess Corporation and ConocoPhillips. Harouge is a joint
venture between the NOC and Canada's Suncor.
(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by
Mark Trevelyan and Alistair Bell)