Libya’s National Oil Corp on Wednesday cut oil production by about 120,000 barrels a day as its eastern subsidiary AGOCO faced power problems due to unusually hot weather, a company official said on Wednesday.
AGOCO hopes to gradually resume production, which has fallen to 146,000 bpd, when the weather gets cooler, the official said by phone. Production has been halted at the Massala field and the Sarir field also has power problems, he said.
Temperatures hit 49 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, he said. The historical daily average ranges from 15 to 24 degrees Celsius, according to Accuweather.com.
The Raguba field further west had a “minor distribution delay” but production was unaffected despite threats from protesters, state oil firm NOC said in a statement.
Protesters in the remote Marada region of eastern Libya have demanded that authorities urgently deal with grievances over the absence of government, a shortage of healthcare and other services.
The nation has been in turmoil since the toppling of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has not released a production figure for months but industry sources had put it at one million bpd before the power cut hit AGOCO.
Distribution from the 5,000-barrels-per-day (bpd) Raguba field to the port of Brega was halted on Tuesday, but production was uninterrupted and output was stored on-site, the NOC said.
Oil production at Raguba is ongoing despite threats by local protesters to shut down the field, the statement said. “No technical or infrastructure damage to the field or wells was incurred.”
In a potential escalation, the protesters said they had called on workers at a second oilfield, Waha, to halt output and ask for state support.
It was unclear whether production at Waha had stopped.
The NOC thanked local groups for their support in resolving the matter following a meeting with protesters.
Production at Sirte Oil stands at about 61,000 bpd.
A pipeline of the Waha oil company, an NOC joint venture with foreign firms, running through Marada feeds the Es Sider port. Waha pumps around 260,000 bpd, officials have said.
Some youths had also protested Marada town’s lack of road links to other communities and demanded jobs, officials have said, a common grievance in Libya.
Armed groups have twice blown up the pipeline near Marada since December as security in the remote eastern area is volatile.