World Bulletin / News Desk
Libyan oil output has been reduced by around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) as protests by groups demanding greater autonomy for eastern Libya a day before national elections have blocked operations at some oil terminals, officials said on Friday.
The protests, combined with other storage and market-related factors, have pushed output down to a round 1.3 million bpd from the level of nearly 1.6 million bpd to which production has steadily climbed since the end of last year's war ousted Muammar Gaddafi.
"You are talking about a shortage in daily production of about 300,000, plus or minus," NOC Chairman Nuri Berruien told Reuters by telephone.
"Most of the cut is because of the unrest."
Berruien said political protesters had prevented the lifting of crude from terminals in the east, such as Al-Sidra and around Ras Lanuf and cited storage and market factors as reasons for the cut.
"(The) unrest has nothing to do with the oil sector," he said. "Some people are stopping the lifting ofcrude... And accordingly the companies have to reduce their production because some of the tanks are full."
Berruien said the disruption by protesters had begun on Thursday evening. He said some of his staff had been told the disruption would last 48 hours.
"For the security of the people working there and the equipment, it was decided to minimise the exportations from the host terminals, Sidra and Ras Lanuf, and in this case you have to reduce the production," Deputy Oil Minister Omar Shakmak told Reuters. He said output was on average at 1.35 million bpd.
Berruien would not be drawn on who the protesters were.
A self-proclaimed autonomous council for the oil-rich province has called on people in the region to boycott the July 7 election for a national assembly, saying it will not give adequate representation to the east.
The anti-election group also now includes some tribes as well as disgruntled former rebel forces gathering at Wadi Ahmar, which lies west of Benghazi, analysts have said.
Libya's east, home to most of the country's oil, was starved of cash during Gaddafi's 42-year rule, and calls for federal rule have been fuelled by long-standing complaints it has been deprived of its fair share of wealth.
Saturday's election for the assembly, which will name a new prime minister, help draft a constitution and enact legislation is a crucial milestone in shaping Libya's institutions.
Volatility eased as traders focused on the world economy and corporate earnings after a week dominated by the dramatic spike in tensions over North Korea, which triggered a global sell-off before prices bounced back Monday.
Investors greeted the more conciliatory tone after US stocks dropped three days in a row last week on President Donald Trump's vow of "fire and fury" if North Korea continued to pursue its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The ultra-conservative kingdom has moved to diversify its traditionally oil-dependent economy following a sharp fall in crude prices.
In its monthly report on the global oil market, the International Energy Agency said, however, that it believes the supply glut is easing, partly because demand is growing faster.
US stocks have been in retreat since President Donald Trump Tuesday issued a fiery warning to North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
The move by one of Japan's best-known firms greatly reduces the chance of an embarrassing delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index weakened by 0.5 percent to 7,503.39 points.
The approval by the European Commission comes just over two months after the European Central Bank -- which took on the role of the eurozone's banking supervisor in 2014 -- allowed the sale to go ahead for a symbolic fee of one euro.
BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total have all published results in recent days, showing they pocketed $23 billion in net profit in the first half fo the year.
Higher cereal, sugar and dairy prices pushed food price index by 10.2 percent annually in July
HSBC was also a big riser, gaining three percent at £7.65 ($10, 8.5 euros) in late morning trade after the British banking giant announced a share buyback plan alongside a rise in first-half profits.
Both main crude contracts made strong gains, with WTI testing $50 a barrel for the first time since late May and Brent heading towards $53, while mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw their share price rise as commodities strengthened.