Libya's oil production is expected to drop as some of the oil fields at Waha go offline due to pipeline maintenance, undisclosed sources privy to the matter told spglobal.com on Thursday, November 25.
According to the sources, key pipelines connecting the Dahra and Samah oil fields to the giant 350,000 b/d Es Sider terminal were scheduled to go offline for seven days as the pipeline repair work began on Wednesday, November 24.
The closure of some of the major pipelines is expected to result in a 45,000-90,000 b/d drop as the work commenced last week.
In recent months, the 32-inch diameter pipelines conveying crude oil from Dahra and Samah to Es Sider port have suffered several leaks due to its fragility, necessitating urgent repair.
The 300,000 b/d capacity Waha oil fields in the Sirte Basin are operated by NOC subsidiary Waha Oil Co., feeding crude oil into Libya's flagship Es Sider crude grade, whose oil capacity recently averaged at 280,000 b/d.
NOC was unable to fully repair its facilities in the past due to an acute shortage of funds allocated for repair.
The maintenance of the NOC tanks and pipelines was also obstructed due to blockades at onshore western and eastern ports and the crude fields in such areas.
A bulk of Libya's oil productions and transport infrastructure have been wrecked due to the never-ending civil wars that have gripped the country for many years. The pipeline infrastructure has been subject to millitants and terrorist attacks as well as neglect over the past years.
According to S&P monthly Global Platts OPEC survey, Libya's crude oil that has been in the past three months averaging at 1.12 million-1.16 million b/d is expected to drop ahead of the contentious December 24 elections based on the long history of the facility's vulnerability to such events.
S&P Global Platts Analytics also added in a recent note that "A power struggle over oil revenues is not assumed, but disruption risks will grow after the election."
Meanwhile, experts forecast an average production capacity of 1.15 million b/d through April 2022, a 50,000 b/d drop in production capacity during sporadic outages.