A blockade of pipelines at the hands of armed militants has shut down production at three Libyan oil fields, including the biggest one, Sharara.
Sharara stopped pumping oil a week ago, after a militant group seized control of the pipeline that feeds crude from it to the Zawiya export terminal, and is still idle, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg.
In addition to 270,000-bpd Sharara, El Feel—which pumped over 26,000 bpd in April—has also stopped production, a source from the Petroleum Facilities Guard that controls security at the field told Bloomberg. The National Oil Corporation has declared force majeure for the field, and for another one as well, the Hamada, said a spokesman for Arabia Gulf Oil Co, due to a blockade on the pipelines carrying oil from the two fields.
The output suspension is the latest in a string of earlier ones, most focused on Sharara, which supplied around a quarter of Libya’s total—1.02 million bpd as of July—before production started gradually being reduced after two vehicle thefts that led to a tightening of security measures at the field including limiting access of personnel to some parts of the field.
Earlier this year, in April, Sharara and El Feel both stopped pumping after an armed group blocked the pipeline from Sharara—the bigger field supplies electricity to El Feel. Since then, Sharara has been the target of several additional attacks that have led to output suspensions.
The field has a capacity of 330,000 bpd, while El Feel could produce 90,000 bpd if it operates at capacity. Hamada is the smallest of the three, yielding 10,000 bpd as of three years ago.
Despite the disruptions, crude oil is down, with Brent trading at US$51.85 a barrel at 10:00 CST, down 1.07 percent, and WTI at US$46.72, down 2.4 percent.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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