Libya's Oil Output Is Said to Wilt as Hot Weather Halts Turbines

(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s crude production tumbled by at least 120,000 barrels a day after some oil-field equipment stopped operating due to hot weather, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Output at the Libyan Arabian Gulf Oil Co., known as Agoco, dropped to about 145,000 barrels a day on Tuesday from about 260,000, the person said, asking not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to news media. The company, a unit of state-run National Oil Corp., began curtailing production on May 17 because high temperatures caused some of its turbines to stop working, the person said.

Output would recover once the hot weather abated, the person said. NOC officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

The North African country’s output has plateaued at about 1 million barrels a day since rebounding from 260,000 barrels a day in August 2016. Production remains well below the 1.8 million that Libya pumped before the ouster and killing of former leader Moammar Qaddafi. Sporadic disruptions at major oil fields including Sharara and El-Feel, closed since February, have hampered the revival.

In eastern Libya, protesters briefly blocked the entrance for tanker trucks at the 5,000 barrel-a-day Ragouba field, prompting workers to halt production at the deposit, which exports through the Brega coastal terminal, according to a different person familiar with the situation. The protesters, who were seeking health care and other benefits, re-opened the entrance and let the field restart after being promised their demands would be met, the person said, asking not to be identified due to a lack of permission to speak to media.

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