Libyan Rebels Plan to Resume Oil Production


"Rebels have seized several towns with important oil installations."

Advancing rebels in Libya announced that they would be able to resume crude exports in a week and Qatar promised to help them market their product on world markets.

Over the last three days, the rebels have seized several towns with important oil installations that they said would enable them to produce and export crude. The rebels said they would able to produce up to 130,000 barrels of crude a day, still less than a tenth of what Libya exported before turmoil erupted last month.

While the amount of oil the rebels said they could export was small, Libyan oil is particularly valued on world markets because it is high quality, needs little refining and is particularly well suited for European diesel markets. Although there is concern that the rebel advance may prove to be fleeting, oil traders responded to their victories by pushing down the price of most world oil benchmarks, albeit modestly.

President Obama planned to address the nation Monday night regarding the United States involvement in Libya. The administration has been accused of failing to make its goals clear with regard to the action in Libya.

Some oil analysts expressed doubts the Libyan advance would make a lasting impact. Tanker companies will need to find ways to obtain insurance before they will venture into Libyan ports, analysts noted, and the rebels' ability to retain control over oil terminals may be tested.

"With military action continuing and sanctions very much in place, it will be hard to move oil out of the country," Barclays Capital reported in a research note. "There isn't much clarity as to how many of the actual oil fields are under the control of the rebels."

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