The shutdown of Libya’s biggest oilfield, el-Sharara, has resulted in a production loss of 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), and an additional loss of 73,000 bpd at the el-Feel oilfield, costing the country a financial loss of $32.5 million per day, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday.
The NOC has declared on Monday a force majeure on exports from Sharara oilfield after an armed group called the Fezzan Anger Movement seized it.
In a Monday statement, NOC demanded these groups to “immediately leave the field without preconditions.” It said it was also “reviewing” evacuation plans to protect the oilfield’s workers from any threats. The statement did not mention whether staff had actually left the site.
The NOC stressed that it will not negotiate with these groups as they have committed many violent acts, insulted the workers at the field, and disrupted production.
The Fezzan Anger Movement shut el-Feel oilfield in southwestern Libya as well and threatened to escalate the situation due to the inaction of the NOC toward their demands.
Sharara also provides 120,000 bpd for Zawiya oil refinery in the west of the country, which is the largest operating refinery alongside being one of Libya’s main export grades.
Hence, the company said that production at the Zawiya refinery was also at risk due to its dependence on crude oil supply from Sharara.
After the 2011 uprising, armed groups, tribesmen and regular Libyans tend to vent their anger about inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see “as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in annual oil and gas revenues,” according to Reuters.
Since Saturday, Libyan tribesmen have protested at Sharara oilfield and threatened to cease production until their demands are fulfilled.
The movement demands securing of the road linking al-Jafra and al-Shuwairf towns to Fezzan, preserving Fezzan’s water and oil resources, and providing basic medical needs including equipment for Fezzan’s hospitals, according to the group’s spokesperson Mohammad Maighal.
Living conditions in Fezzan have deteriorated over years due to tribal clashes and a lack of security.
The field in Libya’s remote southwest produces around 300,000 bpd. It has suffered shutdowns caused by security problems, including raids, kidnappings and blockages by tribesmen and state-paid guards.