Libya’s oil exports shrink to just over 10% capacity

Updated 09 September 2013

Libya’s oil exports shrink to just over 10% capacity

LONDON: Libya’s crude oil exports have shrunk to just over 10 percent of capacity from three ports, out of a possible nine, as armed groups have tightened their grip on its major industry.
Exports are down to only around 145,000 barrels per day, compared with a capacity of close to 1.25 million bpd, according to one industry source with close ties to Libya.
The cut in supply from the OPEC member has helped push up international oil prices in recent weeks. O/R
Oil Minister Abdelbari Al-Arusi this week blamed mainly non-oil workers and agitators pushing for regional autonomy in Libya for the strikes, which he said had cost the country $2 billion in lost revenue so far.
The closure of Libya’s two largest oil terminals at the end of July, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, started the worst outage since the civil war in 2011.
The two ports have been closed for about a month now by armed security guards, who previously protected the sites.
Buyers of Libya crude oil are only able to load now from the Bouri and Al-Jurf offshore platforms and the Marsa al Brega port in the east, which resumed exports at the weekend.
Loadings from the western Zawiya terminal, which has a capacity of up to 230,000 bpd, were halted earlier this week, several trading and shipping sources said.
An armed group blocked pipeline flows from the El Sharara and El Feel fields in the south to the Zawiya and Mellitah terminals, late on Monday.
“Some 10 people blocked the terminal since Monday, but anyway, the pipeline feeding the port was down,” a shipping source close to the matter said.
Libya could also face fuel shortages should the disruption continue or worsen.
Its largest oil refinery is now shut, and its second-biggest will soon follow, dealing a blow to Libya’s ability to provide fuel for domestic consumption, which could start being felt in day-to-day life.
“They’ll almost certainly need to start importing gasoline and diesel quite soon,” Richard Mallinson, chief policy analyst at Energy Aspects, said.
Libya’s second-largest 120,000 bpd refinery at Zawiya will soon have to close when crude stocks run dry. It is normally fed by the now closed El-Sharara field.
“Zawiya refinery is hogging the oil to keep it running,” one trader said.
An oil industry source with close ties to Libya said the refinery might have another day or two before having to close.
Libya’s largest 220,000 bpd oil refinery at Ras Lanuf has shut due to a lack of crude after briefly re-opening and exporting some kerosene, used for jet fuel, until early last week.
Oil fields producing the feedstock for the plant have largely been shut in as the export terminal Marsa al Hariga cannot export oil.
“Fuel shortages played a part in building unrest in Egypt through the first half of the year, so the Libyan government will want to avoid adding fuel station queues to their problems,” Mallinson said.
A trading source said only condensate was still available for loading from Mellitah, not crude.
The government has repeatedly threatened military intervention to prevent protesters from selling oil independently of the state-run National Oil Corporation.
But Prime Minister Ali Zeidan tempered recent statements by saying that Libya was seeking a peaceful way to end the oil strikes. Libya’s oil production has been cut to 250,000 barrels per day, from prewar levels of 1.6 million bpd, he said.


Big week for Big Tech as earnings, hearings loom

Updated 25 October 2020

Big week for Big Tech as earnings, hearings loom

  • The four giants drawing the most scrutiny — Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — have been wildly successful in recent years

SAN FRANCISCO: Big Tech is bracing for a tumultuous week marked by quarterly results likely to show resilience despite the pandemic, and fresh attacks from lawmakers ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

With backlash against Silicon Valley intensifying, the companies will seek to reassure investors while at the same time fend off regulators and activists who claim these firms have become too dominant and powerful.

Earnings reports are due this week from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and Google-parent Alphabet, whose combined value has grown to more than $7 trillion.

They have also woven themselves into the very fabric of modern life, from how people share views and get news to shopping, working, and playing.

Robust quarterly earnings results expected from Big Tech will “highlight the outsized strength these tech behemoths are seeing” but “ultimately add fuel to the fire in the Beltway around breakup momentum,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.

The results come amid heightened scrutiny in Washington of tech platforms and follow a landmark antitrust suit filed against Google, which could potentially lead to the breakup of the internet giant, illustrative of the “techlash” in political circles.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have voted to subpoena Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executives of Twitter and Facebook respectively, as part of a stepped-up assault on social media’s handling of online political content, notably the downranking of a New York Post article purported to show embarrassing information about Democrat Joe Biden.

CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are already slated to testify at a separate Senate panel on Wednesday examining the so-called Section 230 law, which offers liability protection for content posted by others on their platforms.

The four giants drawing the most scrutiny — Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google — have been wildly successful in recent years and have weathered the economic impact of the pandemic by offering needed goods and services.

Google and Facebook dominate the lucrative online ad market, while Amazon is an e-commerce king.

Apple has come under fire for its tight grip on the App Store, just as it has made a priority of making money from selling digital content and services to the multitude of iPhone users.

The firms have stepped up lobbying, spending tens of millions this year, and made efforts to show their social contributions as part of their campaign to fend off regulation.

“For the most part, tech companies know how to do this dance,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.

“They don’t spend a lot of time bragging about how well they have done any more.”

Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research said the outlook for Big Tech may not be as rosy as it appears.

“For one, regulators at home and abroad are gunning to rein in some of the largest US technology names,” Yardeni said in a research note.

Of interest to the market short-term will likely be whether backlash about what kind of content is left up and what is taken down by online titans causes advertisers to cut spending on the platforms.

Economic and social disruption from the pandemic also looms over tech firms, which benefitted early in the pandemic as people turned to the internet to work, learn, shop and socialize from home.

“Performance will be best for those providing solutions for people working at home,” analyst Enderle said.

Amazon, Google and Microsoft each have cloud computing divisions that have been increasingly powering revenue as demand climbs for software, services and storage provided as services from massive datacenters.

Amazon has seen booming sales on its platform during the pandemic, and viewing surge at its Prime streaming television service.

Enderle expressed concern that with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and a lack of new stimulus money in the US, tech companies could reveal in forecasts that they are bracing for poorer performance in the current quarter.