Libya’s biggest oilfield, El Sharara, will remain shut until an armed group occupying the site leaves, the head of National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Tuesday, more than a month after the field closed because of a protest.
“The armed group attempting to hold NOC and Libya’s economic recovery to ransom must leave the field before NOC will consider restarting production,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla told a Chatham House conference in London.
The field was producing as much as 315,000 barrels per day (bpd) ahead of its closure, but it has lost 13,000 bpd of capacity since last month due to security breaches, Sanalla told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
The oilfield has been under force majeure since December. Before the nation plunged into conflict in 2011, the site had the capacity to produce 340,000 bpd. OPEC member Libya is now producing just below 1 million bpd, Sanalla said, below average production in 2018 of 1.1 million bpd.