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Another Major Oilfield Goes Offline As Libya’s Civil War Escalates

The El Feel oilfield in Libya is shut down again, days after restarting production following months of blockade amid Libya’s civil war, engineers at the oilfield and the National Oil Corporation (NOC) told Reuters on Wednesday.

Libya’s oil industry has been in total disarray after a group of paramilitary formations affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar occupied Libya’s oil export terminals in January along with pipelines and fields. The blockade came amid continued fighting between the LNA, which is loyal to the eastern Libyan government, and the forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognized by the United Nations.  

Last week, the GNA said it had taken full control of Tripoli from Haftar’s LNA.

NOC said on Sunday that production at the 300,000-bpd Sharara oilfield had resumed after negotiating the opening of an oilfield valve that had been closed since January. The first production phase at Sharara was set to begin at a capacity of 30,000 bpd, while production was expected to return to full capacity within 90 days due to the damages caused by the long shutdown.

On Sunday and Monday, the force majeure on crude oil exports from the Sharara and El Feel fields was lifted, NOC said on Monday, confirming the return of production at El Feel, which is linked to Sharara.

But just a day later, Sharara was shut down again, after an armed force had told the workers on the field to stop working.

Related: OPEC+ Deal Fails To Give Prices Major Boost

NOC declared force majeure on Sharara oilfield crude exports, two days after it had lifted the previous force majeure.

“The armed group, which came from Sebha, stormed the Sharara oilfield and pulled their guns on civilian unarmed workers, coercing them to stop production at the field at dawn on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, only three days after production was resumed. NOC confirms the shutdown of production and declares force majeure on the Sharara field crude oil exports,” Libya’s oil firm said.

Libya’s fragile security situation may not give OPEC+ a headache in the coming days, while the group of producers is reducing collective output to rebalance and market and prop up oil prices.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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