Airstrikes have once again disrupted production of Libya’s El Feel oilfield on Wednesday, after the eastern-based Libyan National Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, retaliated after forces loyal to the UN-backed Libyan government in Tripoli allegedly took control of a 70,000-bpd oilfield in the southwest from forces aligned with the eastern strongman General Khalifa Haftar, in renewed violence around key Libyan oil facilities.
According to a statement from the military council of the city of Sabha, carried by Reuters, the forces loyal to the government in Tripoli now control the El Feel oilfield, not far from Libya’s largest oilfield, Sharara, which has the capacity to pump more than 300,000 bpd.
At present, Haftar’s forces control most of Libya’s oilfields and have controlled El Feel and Sharara since February this year.
An engineer at the field confirmed to Reuters that there have been clashes between forces loyal to the rival Libyan factions. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) called for the clashes to end.
“We ask combatants to halt operations around the field,” NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement, as carried by Reuters.
“Any escalation in violence may lead to staff being evacuated and production being shut down,” Sanalla said on Wednesday morning, prior to the airstrikes. The production will now remain shuttered until all military activity around the field ceases. Related: A New Pipeline Could Undo America’s Influence In Asia
The security situation in Libya has worsened since the spring after Haftar ordered in early April his Libyan National Army (LNA) to march on the capital Tripoli. The self-styled army has been clashing with troops of the UN-backed government in a renewed confrontation that has escalated and disrupted, once again, Libya’s oil production and exports.
Two outages at the biggest oil field Sharara in one month forced Libya’s oil production down to below 1 million bpd in the first week of August—the lowest level in five months.
Libya’s production stabilized and even increased in September and October—to 1.16 million bpd and 1.167 million bpd, respectively, according to OPEC’s figures. Libya is exempted from the OPEC+ production cuts due to its fragile security situation. The renewed clashes are the latest sign of Libya’s wild card status in terms of production consistency and come a week before OPEC’s crucial meeting in Vienna.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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