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UPDATE 3-Libyan oil production rises to 290,000 bpd -source

(Adds Zueitina port status, pictures, television)

LONDON/ZUEITINA, Libya, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Libyan oil production has risen by about 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) from last week to reach 290,000 bpd as exports ramp up, a Libyan oil source told Reuters on Monday on condition of anonymity.

The easing of a blockade by eastern forces, which began in January, has allowed the OPEC member to ramp up exports with the reopening of the Marsa El Hariga, Brega and Zueitina terminals, though damage sustained during the shutdown may slow a full resumption of exports.

The blockade reduced Libya’s output from more than 1.2 million bpd to around 100,000 bpd.

Exports have yet to resume from the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider oil terminals.

In Zueitina, west of Benghazi, the port appeared quiet during a visit by a Reuters reporter on Sunday, with far fewer staff at work than before the shutdown.

An oil engineer there said they faced technical difficulties in keeping the facilities running, with four of the 17 storage tanks out of operation and more requiring maintenance work.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) said it would only resume operations at oilfields and terminals where militants had vacated their positions.

The Episkopi oil tanker loaded a 600,000 barrel crude cargo for Austria’s OMV at Zueitina over the weekend and departed for Italy on Sunday, a local shipping agent said.

The port is expected to export 3.8 million barrels this month.

NOC subsidiary AGOCO last week said it had resumed operations at the Hamada oilfield, with crude from the field expected to be pumped to the 120,000 bpd Zawia oil refinery, west of Tripoli.

AGOCO, on its Facebook page on Oct. 3, said operations had resumed at its 10,000 bpd Sarir oil refinery, south of Sirte. (Editing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman)

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