Libya’s Mellitah blend crude exports are expected to drop in March in line with field disruptions and planned maintenance, after Vortexa data showed five crude cargoes being exported in February. Condensate loadings however are seen remaining stable this month from prior months.

Libya’s state-owned NOC was recently said to declare force majeure at the El Feel field, whose production is mixed with Wafa field condensate and exported as a crude blend from Mellitah terminal.

Planned maintenance was also due to be undertaken at Mellitah at the end of this month, market sources said.

The Mellitah terminal loaded five Mellitah blend crude cargoes in February, Vortexa data shows, one more than January. Of the February exports, two headed to Philadelphia, while others remained in the wider European region, moving to Donges in France, Omisalj in Croatia and Huelva in Spain. The February cargoes were exported aboard two Suezmax and three Aframax vessels, compared with four Aframax vessels in January.

Mellitah crude can at times compete with—and is sought in tenders which include— regional light grades such as Caspian CPC Blend, Algerian Saharan Blend, Egyptian Western Desert and Libyan El Sharara.

Condensate loadings stable

In addition to the Mellitah blend crude loadings, two cargoes of condensate departed from the Mellitah terminal and headed to the Asia-Pacific region both in January and February.

That number of condensate exports is expected to remain stable in March, and the first cargo has already loaded.

The Panamax vessel BW Thames took on board a cargo of what is likely condensate from the Mellitah terminal and is heading towards the Suez Canal. Shipping fixtures showed Socar provisionally chartering the vessel to load 60,000t of clean oil from Mellitah on 3-8 March to head to Japan.