Underwater bombs damage Syria’s offshore oil facilities

Smoke billows following reported bombardment by Syrian regime forces on the town of Kafr Ruma on the outskirts of Maaret al-Numan, in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, on January 27, 2020.(AFP)
Short Url
Updated 27 January 2020

Underwater bombs damage Syria’s offshore oil facilities

  • Syria's oil minister said the bombs were planted by divers in the facility used to pump oil to the coast
  • No one claimed responsibility for the attack, the third to target Syria’s oil and gas industry in less than a year

DAMASCUS: Bombs planted underwater off Syria’s coast exploded Monday, damaging oil facilities used to pump oil into one of Syria’s two petroleum refineries, state media and the oil minister said.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, the third to target Syria’s oil and gas industry in less than a year.
The attack off the coast of Banias was carried out by “terrorists,” state news agency SANA said. Banias is on the Mediterranean shoreline in the Tartous province.
Oil minister Ali Ghanem told state TV that the bombs were planted by divers in the facility used to pump oil to the coast. He said the facility is 3 kilometers (2 miles) off the coast and is 23 meters (yards) underwater.
“The aim of the attack is to cease (oil) imports into Syria,” Ghanem said, adding the ministry’s experts are evaluating and fixing the damage. He said the attack will not stop imports as the ministry had prepared plans in case of such attacks.
Last month, near-simultaneous attacks believed to have been carried out by drones hit three government-run oil and gas installations in central Syria. One of the December attacks targeted the oil refinery in the central city of Homs.
Syria has suffered fuel shortages since last year. Western sanctions have blocked imports, while most Syrian oil fields are controlled by Kurdish-led fighters in the country’s east.
In June, sabotage attacks damaged five underwater pipelines off Banias.
Before the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the country exported around half of the 350,000 barrels of oil it produced per day. Now its production is down to around 24,000 barrels a day, covering only a fraction of domestic needs.


Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

Updated 22 September 2020

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

  • Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd – over 1 percent of global production – before the blockade
  • Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.