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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Largest Libyan Oilfield Back Online After Armed Assault

Libya’s largest oilfield is now fully operational following a couple of weeks of output turbulence, according to UPI, who received official confirmation of the oilfield’s operational status from Austrian energy firm, OMV.

The “irregularities” had been caused by “gangsters,” said Mustafa Sanalla, head of Libya’s National Oil Corp. In late August, the assaults by the armed group Reyayna Patrol Brigade had forced some of the pipelines connected to the Sharara field to be shut down. The ordeal cost $160 million in lost production after 360,000 barrels of output got shut in.

Libyan output fell from 990,000 bpd in July to 830,000 bpd in August due to the pipeline closures. 

"After some short-term irregularities production is back to normal," a spokesman for Austrian OMV told UPI.

Reuters reported on Monday that foreign workers at Libya’s largest oil field bad been evacuated after news emerged of unspecified activities near the site. It is unclear if OMV has called back the 16 workers from Spain, France, the Philippines, and Serbia.

The El Feel field, another major oilfield, declared a force majeure late last month, sources familiar to the case said, while expressing their hesitation due to the private nature of the matter. The same situation unfolded at the Hamada field, according to Arabian Gulf Oil Co. spokesman Omran al-Zwai. New reports say the same armed group active in the Sharara field attacked El Feel and Hamada as well.

Before the recent string of production disruptions, which were caused by militant blockades on pipelines carrying crude from three fields to export terminals, Libya was eyeing 1.2 million bpd in output by the end of the year. The increase in Libya’s production continues to take away from the bloc’s agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day to jumpstart the recovery of oil prices. Top oil officials were able to secure an exemption for the North African country due to the effects several years of civil strife on oil output.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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