As Libya's largest oilfield was forced to close due to protests, international oil prices rose to their highest since the end of March on Monday (April 18), with U.S. oil and Brent oil rising 2% at one point.
Libya is a member of OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), and its largest oil field, Sharara, produces 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Protesters in Libya have gathered at the Sharara oil field to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. The ElFeel field near Sharara, which produces 65,000 barrels a day, was previously shut down for the same reason.
Libya's National Oil Corp announced on Monday that it would no longer fulfill its contractual obligations to deliver oil from the Sharara field after some oil production and exports suffered force majeure. The company also warned of a wave of shutdowns in the future.
Against the backdrop of a worsening political crisis, the Libyan energy sector has experienced numerous production shutdowns, with the country’s oil production falling by some estimates by 535,000 barrels per day and will certainly fall further. Libya was producing 1.1 million barrels a day as of Sunday.
OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said that global oil supply is already very tight, and even the slightest supply disruption can have a huge impact on prices.
Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the global energy industry has been in tight supply. In March this year, international oil prices soared to the highest level since 2008, and the price of Brent crude oil once exceeded 134 US dollars per barrel.
In the first half of April, Russian oil production fell by 7.5% from March, Interfax news agency reported on Friday.
The European Union said that the European Commission is drafting a proposal to ban oil imports from Russia. Previously, the European Union had decided to ban the import of coal from Russia, extending the sanctions to the Russian energy industry for the first time.
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