The situation has not improved to encourage the National Oil Corporation (NOC) to reopen el-Sharara oilfield since it was shut down on 9 December 2018, NOC head Mustafa Sanalla said Sunday.
“The NOC was forced to declare the force majeure on el-Sharara oilfield due to the deteriorating situation facing the field thus far. Hence, the force majeure cannot be lifted,” Sanalla said in a statement.
He added that the NOC’s conditions to reopen the field, including the safety of workers and the departure of the armed group responsible for the field’s closure, have not been met throughout the past 77 days. He referred that these groups terrorized the workers.
To put an end to the chaos at Libya’s biggest oilfield with the production 35,000 barrels per day, the NOC has initiated criminal proceedings against these groups with “evidence of their criminal acts,” he added.
Further, the Tripoli-based oil institution has contacted Libyan National Army (LNA) to expel the armed groups from all Libya’s oil fields as part of its military operation in the south, emphasizing that “our main concern is the workers’ safety, and the NOC is neutral and deals with all parties.”
The east-based Khalifa Haftar’s LNA launched an offensive in southern Libya on 14 January against terrorists and armed groups.
The LNA has controlled oil ports in eastern Libya, including Sharara, and also claimed control of el-Feel oilfield, which produces around 75,000 bpd.