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Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Monday that there had been a “security breach” at the Sharara oil field on Sunday night, which highlights the challenges that Libya’s oil industry faces in steadily recovering production.
There has been a security breach at station 186 of the giant Sharara oil field, due to weak security, NOC said in a brief statement quoted by Reuters, without giving further details.
The Sharara field has seen several disruptions in oil production in recent months. In early October, a blockade by an armed group led to a three-day suspension of production, shutting in more than 230,000 bpd of Libya’s crude oil production.
The blockade took place less than a month after Sharara had returned to pump oil following a two-week disruption at the end of August.
Before the August shutdown at Sharara, Libya was producing around 1.1 million bpd—after topping 1 million bpd at end-June for the first time in four years.
According to OPEC’s secondary sources, Libya’s crude oil production exceeded 1 million bpd on average in July, dropped to an average of 869,000 bpd in August, and then increased to 923,000 bpd in September, showing the biggest monthly increase in production among OPEC members.
Much of the August and September production losses were due to disruptions in production at the Sharara oil field.
Security challenges continue to plague Libya’s oil industry and last week, production dropped by 50,000 bpd at another oil field—Sara—due to protests in the area.
“Oil production from the Sara field at Jikharra has been reduced by 50,000 b/d as a result of protests, at a cost to the Libyan people of approximately $3 million per day,” NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on Thursday. “Individuals in Jikharra have made a series of demands linked to the implementation of new contract terms for Wintershall, the field operator. However, at NOC we have a very clear position of not making concessions to blockaders. We can discuss what can be done to support the valued and respected Jikharra community once production is restarted, but there is nothing to discuss while production is shut in,” Sanalla said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.