Crude vessel leaves Libya empty

Sept. 15, 2011 at 8:17 AM

PIRAEUS, Greece, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- An oil tanker left the Libyan port of Mellitah and is headed to Cyprus without loading its cargo, the owner of the vessel confirmed.

With Tripoli in the hands of a transitional government, oil companies are flocking to the energy-rich North African country with high expectations. Libya was a major oil-producing nation before the war. Transitional leaders had said they expected crude exports to move closer to normal by the end of September.

But NewLead Holdings Ltd. told Bloomberg News that one of its oil tankers had to leave a Libyan port without its cargo.

A company spokeswoman confirmed the vessel has a carrying capacity of more than 73,000 tons but wouldn't specify the nature of the cargo, Bloomberg added.

Nevertheless, there are indications that energy production from Libya could resume sooner than later.

ENI Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni recently visited Tripoli, a first for any major international energy company since the start of the war in February, and said he was hoping for a "quick recovery."

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