Image courtesy of Euronews.

A group of Libyan protesters demanding jobs shut down the Zueitina oil port and several oilfields Monday after blocking a pipeline.

Libya’s National Oil Company told Reuters  that all crude flows to Zueitina have been cut off, triggering shutdowns at several oilfields in eastern Libya.

“The protesters closed the pipeline to the port. This will have a big impact on oil production,” an NOC spokesman said.

The NOC has not disclosed how severely the closures will impact production levels or how many fields have been forced to close.

According to an estimate put together by Reuters the shutdowns could drag Libya’s total production down to 400,000 bpd from about 500,000 bpd last month.

The turmoil helped send crude prices to $62 per barrel for this first time this year.

Last week the protesters halted production at a gas field in eastern Libya and blocked the entrance way to the headquarters of state owned Sirte Oil at the port of Brega.

A separate group of state oil security workers also shutdown the El Feel oilfield last week, demanding that the NOC add 150 jobs at the troubled field.

The shutdowns are expected to worsen Libya’s power shortage as the country reels from multiple attacks on petroleum fields and export terminals.

Libya has been struggling with field shut ins and power outages since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

Clashes between Libya’s two rival governments have sent the country’s exports crashing down to about 500,000 barrels per day from a high of 1.6 billion barrels per day before the fighting began.


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