Agoco field can pump once security improves: executive

By Alexander Dziadosz

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – The Sarir oil field, Libya’s largest, was not damaged during attacks by government loyalists last week and could resume pumping once the area is secure, an oil executive in the rebel-held east said on Sunday.

The Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco) was still waiting for details about “serious” damage done to Misla field during the attacks and was not sure when it could resume production, the company’s information manager told Reuters.

Agoco, now operating independently of its Tripoli-based parent National Oil Corp., said it stopped pumping oil last week after forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attacked its fields.

Tripoli accused Britain of bombing Sarir, a charge rebel and NATO leaders denied.

“Sarir is ready. If the security improves, they can start any time,” Abdeljalil Mayouf said at the company’s Benghazi offices.

“There was no damage. But Misla takes time, of course. To re-establish the situation and the equipment takes time.”

Rebels who in February shook off the long-serving Libyan ruler’s grasp on much of the country’s east are eager to keep oil flowing, both to help meet domestic fuel demand and to raise money to pay salaries and other expenses.

Sarir could pump about 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) before the uprising, and was still pumping roughly 50,000 to 60,000 bpd before last week’s attacks, Mayouf said, adding production could perhaps reach 100,000 bpd if security improves.

“Sarir is a very rich field. Sarir alone in a normal situation can produce 200,000 barrels per day,” he said.

“If this area is secure and we send all the employees of Sarir, we can produce more. We can produce more than 100,000 barrels per day.

“But it is not secure, so no one can tell you the date it will start,” he added.

NATO warplanes appeared to have struck a convoy of vehicles belonging to Gaddafi troops occupying the Waha field on Friday or Saturday, Mayouf said, citing witnesses who returned to Benghazi.

Some of the government loyalists headed north to Ajdabiyah after the strike, where they fought with rebels, Mayouf said. He said more strikes were needed on Gaddafi troops concentrated in Sebha and other southern towns.

Agoco is still missing two employees who were captured by Gaddafi’s forces during the attack on Misla last week, he said.

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Agoco field can pump once security improves: executive