Al-Sharara oilfield resumes pumping oil into Al-Zawiya refinery piecemeal

Sharara oil field in western Libya has resumed oil production in a gradual basis starting Wednesday morning after the Rayaina oil pipelines were reopened after two years of closure.

"We started running the wells and then gradually we will start pumping to the Zawiya refinery", the official, who works at the field, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The pipelines had been closed at a key valve at the town of Rayayina since November 2014, in the case of the Al-Sharara line, and since April previous year in the case of the Al-Feel line, a statement from the NOC said.

On Tuesday, the National Oil Corporation announced the reopening of the oil pipelines that extend from Al-Sharara and Al-Feel oilfields, adding that it is targeting an addition of 270.000 oil barrels per day to the Libyan oil output over the three upcoming months.

"Probably, we would kick off the pimping of oil on Thursday for more reassurance as the oil field has been shut for two years, we need to make sue that everything is OK".

In a video published on social media, workers at Sharara could be seen shouting in celebration as gas flares were lit.

Increased Libyan production could complicate an attempt by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries attempt to support oil prices. Libya and Nigeria were exempted from a recent OPEC pledge to cut oil production by around 1.8 million bpd. This week a tanker has been loading oil at the biggest of those ports, Es Sider, the first loading in more than two years.

The pipelines had been blockaded at a key valve at the town of Rayayina since November 2014, in the case of the Sharara line, and since April 2015, in the case of the El-Feel line, the statement said.

Libya now produces around 600,000 bpd, and seeks to double this next year, especially since the reopening of terminals in the east of the chaos-ridden country that had also been blockaded.

Sharara is run by the NOC, Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil. The North African nation, which was exempted from OPEC's planned cuts because of its internal strife, is now producing 600,000 barrels a day, less than half of the 1.6 million it pumped before a 2011 uprising. El Feel is operated by the NOC and ENI.

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