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Less than a month after Libya’s giant oil field Sharara returned to pump oil following a two-week disruption, Sharara closed again on Sunday evening, and more than 230,000 bpd of Libya’s oil production is currently offline again, Reuters reported on Monday, citing an oil source and an engineer at the field.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) was “working towards a swift restart of production. At this moment, there are no plans to declare force majeure,” Reuters quoted the NOC as saying in a statement today.
According to a trading source, the latest shutdown at Sharara was due to a protest over salaries. Just before the oil field was closed on Sunday, it was producing around 236,000 bpd, the engineer at the field told Reuters.
Yesterday’s shutdown is the latest in a string of issues with blockades and closings at the Sharara field this year.
At the beginning of last month, Sharara had resumed production following a two-week halt. The pipeline that was blocked feeds crude oil from Sharara to the Zawiya export terminal.
“More than 360,000 barrels per day of Libyan crude oil production has been shut in by a criminal militia operating in Western Libya,” NOC said in a statement on August 30.
“The militia, which calls itself the Rayayina Patrols Brigade, illegally shut the trunk crude oil pipeline (Line 30) from the Sharara oil field to Zawiya at the Rayayina valve on 19th August 2017, cutting production by an estimated 283,000 bpd. The militia also illegally closed Line 18 from Hamada to Zawiya on 25th August, shutting 8,000 bpd, and broke into the control room at the El-Feel field on 26th August 2017, shutting down 70,000 bpd of production there,” NOC said 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. This was still short of pre-2011 levels, when Libya produced about 1.6 million bpd, but on the way to 1.2 million bpd – the daily production figure NOC announced it will be striving for earlier this year.
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.