Libya rebels may sell first oil cargo this week

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 04, 2011 11:15 AM

By Jonathan Saul and Renee Maltezou

LONDON/ATHENS (Reuters) - Libyan rebels may this week sell the first tankerful of crude since an uprising against leader Muammar Gaddafi fully halted exports from the North African country and sent oil prices higher.

Satellite ship tracking data AIS showed on Monday oil tanker Equator, which can carry up to 1 million barrels of oil, was due to arrive at the rebel held east Libyan port of Marsa el Hariga on Tuesday. The tanker is currently anchored in Egyptian waters.

Earlier on Monday, Platts energy service said Equator was due to arrive in the rebel-held eastern Libyan port of Tobruk to load a cargo of Serir/Mesla blend crude oil.

The agency quoted Wahid Bougaighis, head of a newly established oil company for the rebels, as saying: "They are coming for sure because there was a contract signed already." He gave no other details.

The vessel's Greek operators Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd, could not confirm details, when contacted by Reuters.

"For the time being, the ship is not there," a Dynacom official said. "We don't have such information. It might arrive in the next days, but it's not something we can say now."

The rebel-led government has said it has concluded a deal with Qatar to market crude oil [ID:nLDE72Q0DE]

The rebel movement has also said it is discussing plans to exempt its oil exports from sanctions and has also raised the issue with a U.N. envoy.

Libyan was producing around 1.6 million barrels per day of oil and exporting some 1.3 million bpd before the unrest.

Since the outage of its exports Brent crude futures have risen to around $120 a barrel from around $100 before.

(Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Keiron Henderson)