Libya Reopens Oil Pipeline to Biggest Port After Fixing Leak

(Bloomberg) -- Libya restarted a pipeline that carries crude oil to its biggest export terminal, after a halt that caused the OPEC member’s production to drop to the lowest level in two months.

The 32-inch link has been repaired and pumping has resumed, Waha Oil Co., which operates the eastern port of Es Sider, said in a statement. That paves the way for the return of 200,000 barrels a day that stopped flowing after the company shut the pipeline to fix leaks.

Waha, a subsidiary of state energy firm National Oil Corp., was pumping 98,000 barrels a day on Saturday before the pipeline restarted. It’s expected to be back to its normal daily level of 300,000 barrels within two days, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Libya’s crude output had surged to nearly 1.25 million barrels a day at the start of this month from almost nothing in September, thanks to a tentative peace between the main factions in its civil war. The Arab nation is pumping about three-quarters as much as it did before the 2011 uprising that toppled former dictator Moammar Al Qaddafi and triggered the country’s political and economic collapse.

The closure of the almost-60-year-old pipeline underscores the deterioration of Libya’s oil infrastructure. The war and frequent production shutdowns have starved the government and NOC of funds. The company is struggling to fix oil fields, storage tanks, pumping stations, pipelines and ports. Some have been damaged by the conflict, while others are corroding because of neglect.

The NOC’s chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, said last week the country is seeking funding from foreign energy firms working in Libya to help fix oil installations.

(Updates with more detail in third paragraph.)