Libya’s crude production should remain near 1 million b/d for the next several months. The likelihood of production-disrupting violence, however, will increase significantly in the run-up to the December 2018 election. Production could fall by up to 200,000 b/d as a result. Europe’s refiners would look elsewhere for light sweet crude, including the U.S.
Oil and Gas Journal:
The rise in medium and heavy refiner demand was already pushing the production-cut agreement among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as some non-members towards an end by 2019, ESAI Energy points out in its May Global Crude Oil Outlook. The US request for more crude oil and apparent willingness of Saudi Arabia and Russia to respond provides additional rationale.
Europe has at least 1.2 million b/d of refining capacity that are at greater risk from new IMO specifications. These refineries’ high yields of heavy fuel oil, smaller and less-efficient size, and lack of plans to invest in upgrading make them vulnerable to weaker demand for heavy fuel oil and widening spreads once IMO changes take effect. Other bigger refineries are investing to adapt to market changes and remain viable.