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New security plan for Libya oil fields after Sharara crisis

A new security plan to secure Libya’s oil fields and institutions was announced by head of the Libyan Presidency Council Faiez Sarraj and Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) Mustafa Sanalla on Monday.

During their meeting in Tripoli, Sarraj and Sannalla agreed on several new measures, including the restructuring of the Petroleum Facilities Guards and enhancing their training programs.

Sannalla discussed with Sarraj NOC’s suggested security plan for oil fields and vital institutions. He also suggested establishing “green- safe areas” inside Petroleum sites to prevent the entry of anyone without permit.

The suggested plan also includes changing Sharara oil field senior guards and banning
all unauthorized people from entering the field.

According to NOC official website, Sarraj agreed on the suggested plan.

Sannalla emphasized that paying ransoms to terrorist groups threatening to close Sharara oil field or any other vital locations or fields within Libya, will lead to more similar terrorist incidents.

Sannalla and Sarraj also discussed the latter’s visit to Sharara oil field on Dec. 19, and its “positive results,” according to the statement.

On Sunday, the by Libyan Council for Oil and Gas said Sharara’s production to return to 315,000 barrels per day within 60 days.

However, on Friday, NOC announced that it will not lift the force majeure state at Sharara oil field.

Sannalla said in a statement that the situation in the oil field remains dangerous, and the force majeure state cannot be lifted until there is an alternative security plan.

During Sarraj’s visit to Sharara field in Ubari city of southwestern Libya, he met with representatives of the Fezzan Anger Movement as well as security and military leaders in the region. The head of the Presidency Council asserted his understanding of the reasons for the protest and the demands that he considered legitimate rights.

He stressed that all citizens have the right to express their opinion peacefully; however, he completely rejected posing any threat to the safety of the Libyans or the country’s facilities.

Sarraj said dialogue was the only way to resolve the problem and refused any accusations against the protest movement members without strong evidence.

He outlined the measures taken to improve facilities and services in the southern region, and provide the needs of citizens in the framework of the national campaign to aid the south announced last month, which also includes securing the southern border.

He explained the efforts that have been made for months to implement a development program in the area.

“Political failure and the conflict among politicians are the major cause of the economic and security crises. The issues are interrelated, and the negative impact is not limited to the south,” the president said

At the conclusion of the meeting, Sarraj expressed his appreciation of the spirit of national responsibility that allowed the resumption of work in the field. He noted that the efforts of the Fezzan Anger Movement should be directed to the reconstruction and development of Fezzan.

The meeting came two days after NOC declared a force majeure on Sharara oilfield, which had been seized by the Fezzan Anger Movement.

Since Dec. 8, Libyan tribesmen have protested at Sharara oilfield and threatened to cease production until their demands are fulfilled.

The movement demands the 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 barrels per day (bpd). It has suffered shutdowns caused by security problems, including raids, kidnappings and blockages by tribesmen and state-paid guards.

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