Politics, Geopolitics and Conflict
No Respite for Libyan Oil
Last week, gunmen took control of Libya’s major El Sharara oilfield. The field was being guarded by a militia group from Zintan when a rival militia currently largely in control of the capital, Tripoli, seized it in a bloody fight that left at least 13 people dead. Right now in Libya we are looking at two parallel governments supported by a variety of tribal militias, also warring with each other. The seizure forced a shutdown in production at the field, which at its height was pumping 200,000 bpd. The field is operated by the Libyan state-run National Oil Corp (NOC), control over which is tenuous at best, in partnership with Spanish Repsol. On Wednesday this week, there was an attempt to restart production, but this failed due to apparent blockage of the pipeline that feeds El Sharara oil to the port of Zawiya. This port lies in the territory of Zintan, home to the tribe that was guarding the oilfield before its seizure by a rival militia group. The Zintan tribal militia are allied with Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni—one of the latest in a series of short-lived prime ministers-whose Cabinet has been forced to relocate to the country’s east as rival militias control Tripoli. Italy’s Eni is also facing major obstacles here as the field it operations, El Feel, next door also remains shutdown entirely.
At the same time, a car bomb exploded outside the Egyptian embassy in…