File photo.

Libya is preparing to export the first post-war shipment of fuel oil from Ras Lanuf, the country's largest refinery, this week, a local shipping agent said on Monday.

The 45,000 tonne cargo is due to load on Sept 5, according to Al Omran Shipping Agencies and Maritime Services.

Ras Lanuf, which can process 220,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), restarted last week after being shut down during the war that ousted Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The plant, which accounts for well over half of the country's refining capacity, exported around five cargoes of low-sulphur fuel oil a month before the war, according to traders.

The restart of the refinery has pressured fuel oil prices as it is a significant exporter of the refined product in the region.

“There has been a lot of action on the hilos (spread between low and high-sulphur fuel oil)” said one fuel oil trader, attributing the activity to the increased availability of low-sulphur fuel oil in the Mediterranean.

“It's pretty chunky for the low-sulphur market,” he added.

Ras Lanuf is also a key exporter of jet fuel and naphtha in the region.

The vessel due to pick up the shipment, the Minerva Grace, had been chartered by Vitol, the agent said. -Reuters