Libyan oil corporation declares “force majeure” in southern oil field

TRIPOLI, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) — Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) on Monday declared force majeure in Al-Sharara oil field in the south, following forced closure of the field by an armed group.

“NOC hereby declares a state of force majeure at the Sharara oil field as of Dec. 9, 2018. NOC prioritizes the safety of staff and is currently reviewing evacuation procedures following threats to their well-being, and the forced shutdown of the oilfield by the armed militia claiming attachment to the local Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG),” NOC said in a statement.

The corporation confirmed it will not negotiate with the armed group and demanded them to leave the field immediately, accusing them of committing violence against the field’s staff, robbery, and interrupting oil production.

“The presence of this group is a real threat to the field and to the future of our country,” said NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla. “This militia has to leave the field immediately.”

A group of protesters, who call themselves “Anger of Fezzan (southern Libyan region),” earlier on Saturday shut down Al-Sharara oil field, demanding better security and services.

The demands also included rebuilding of cities and towns affected by armed conflicts, and providing liquidity for local banks in the south that lack funds.

Al-Sharara, located some 750 km southwest of the capital Tripoli, is the largest oil field in Libya. It produces 270,000 barrels of oil per day, more than a quarter of Libya’s daily oil production.

The field has been attacked by militants several times, and was once shut down by protesters.

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