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After a three-day suspension of production due to a blockade by an armed group, Libya’s giant Sharara oil field re-opened on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports, quoting an emailed statement by Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC).
As of Wednesday, the NOC lifted the force majeure at Sharara—which had been closed since Sunday evening—and is able to restart delivering oil from Sharara to customers, the Libyan company said.
Less than a month after Sharara returned to pump oil following a two-week disruption, the field closed again on Sunday evening, shutting in more than 230,000 bpd of Libya’s crude oil production. According to a trading source who spoke to Reuters on Monday, 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, an engineer at the oil field told Reuters.
The armed group that had blocked the field was demanding to be paid back salaries, and wanted supplies of fuel and some detained members to be released, but it was not clear if those demands were met, according to Bloomberg.
Sunday’s shutdown is the latest in a string of issues with blockades and closings at the Sharara oil 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.
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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.
On Monday, NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said on Libyan television that NOC was facing security issues as well as technical and financial challenges in its attempts to achieve its target to produce 1.25 million bpd of crude oil this year, Bloomberg reports.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.