Oil prices slide as Libya biggest oilfield Sharara resumes production

A view of the Sharara oilfield in Libya. Pumping from the country’s biggest oil field [The National]
Oil prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns of oversupply as Libyan output improves and as US gasoline inventories rose despite the peak summer driving season.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $51.65 per barrel at 0655 GMT, down 22 cents, or 0.4 per cent, from their last close.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $47.65 a barrel, down 18 cents, or 0.4 per cent.

Libya’s Sharara oil field, the country’s largest, was gradually restarting on Tuesday after a shutdown, although instability in the country means that output there could be volatile, traders said.

Sharara recently reached output of 280,000 barrels per day (bpd), but closed earlier this week due to a pipeline blockade. Its production is key to Libya’s oil output, which surged above 1 million bpd in late June, about four times its level last summer.

Libya’s rising output is a headache for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which together with non-Opec producers including Russia has pledged to hold back around 1.8 million bpd of supplies between January this year and March 2018 to tighten supplies.

However, Opec has so far fallen short of its pledge, in part due to Libya’s strong output. The Opec-member has been exempt from cuts.

(Source: ET Market)

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