Libyan ports receiving cargoes despite violent unrest - consultant

10 March 2011 17:02  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A number of Libyan ports remain open for business despite intensifying violent political unrest in the region, as foreign ship owners continue to express interest in travelling to the country, a consultant said on Thursday.

John Drake, senior risk consultant at advisory firm AKE, said that; “although numbers were significantly reduced, vessels were still arriving at ports at Tripoli and Benghazi.”

A source said that exports of methanol from Libya have now ceased to a halt as stocks are depleted following Libyan Norwegian Fertiliser Co's (Lifeco) closure of its Marsa El Brega facility on 21 February.

The last vessel of methanol cargo left Libya on 28 February. It is understood that the Marsa El Brega plant, which produces approximately 680,000 tonnes/year of methanol, has not suffered any damage in clashes between security forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels who are trying to overthrow the current government regime, the source added.

Another source said there have been no olefins cargoes loaded from the large petrochemical hub of Ras Lanuf since late February, owing to the shutting down of cracker operations.

According to the shipping agents GAC, black smoke was seen emitting from one of the chimneys at the refinery in Ras Lanuf on 9 March, which could indicate damage, declining performance at the facility, or a combination of the two.

Four oil storage units, separate from the refinery at Ras Lanuf, were on fire close to the road between Sidr and Ras Lanuf. The circumstances of the blaze are unknown.

The ports of Marsa El Brega and Es Sider also remain closed as it is currently considered too dangerous for staff to attend work.

Additional reporting by Nel Weddle and Ross Yeo

By: Neha Popat
+44 208 652 3214

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