Attack on Libyan crude pipeline cuts output by up to 100000 bpd

A general view of the Sirte Oil Company in Brega. REUTERS  Esam Omran al-Fetori

A pipeline blast in Libya, which could result in oil prices continuing to shift higher, raised concern Tuesday morning over the potential 60,000 to 70,000 barrels per day being lost from the average 260,000 barrels moving through the Waha Oil pipeline daily.

Libya and Nigeria are supposed to restrict their combined production to no more than 2.8 million barrels a day, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said after the November meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. A Libyan military source said earlier armed men had planted explosives at the pipeline. An ongoing outage of the Forties Pipeline System in the North Sea and expectations of supply losses after a blast in Libya helped to punch prices higher. Prices hit $65.83 on December 12, the highest since June 2015.

The media outlet added that the group had sent its forces to the explosion site, located between Es Sider port and an oil field. Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose as much as 2.5 percent after news of the explosion.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, plus Russian Federation and other non-members, have been withholding some output since January 1 to relieve a glut.

That outlook is earlier than predicted in OPEC's latest official forecast, which calls for a balanced market by late 2018. Voluntary OPEC-led supply cuts also impacted the price.

US crude oil inventories were likely down for a sixth straight week, while gasoline stockpiles saw a probable build last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

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