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Militants shutdown three oilfields in Libya

Oil port in Libya [File photo]
Oil port in Libya [File photo]

Gunmen have closed down three oilfields in Libya, prompting the state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC) to stop production, official sources reported on Sunday.A local oil source said that a militant brigade from Libya’s western region of Zintan closed two valves on a pipeline to Sharara oilfield, the largest in

A local oil source said that a militant brigade from Libya’s western region of Zintan closed two valves on a pipeline to Sharara oilfield, the largest in country, demanding more fuel supplies and better economic conditions for their region.

NOC declared force majeure on Sharara crude from the Zawiya oil terminal. It has also declared force majeure on the Mellitah crude exports, due to a blockade on the pipeline that was carried out by the militate brigade on Al-Feel oilfield.

In recent months, militants from Libya’s Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) have shutdown the pipeline which links the Sharara field with the Zawiya port several times. Sharara produces over 280,000 barrels per day.

Read: $1.7bn shortfall in oil revenues for 2017 in Libya

Despite the NOC’s efforts to bring production back up to around one million barrels per day, its highest in four years after successfully managing to negotiate settlements with local communities and brigades, Libya’s crude production has at times fallen below 300,000 barrels per day due to the continuous protests, militant violence and pipeline shutdowns.

Before the 2011 uprising the North African country produced some 1.6 million barrels per day.

Six years after the fall of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is caught in a power struggle among competing factions and various armed brigades, and the OPEC country’s oil infrastructure is often the target of blockades and protests.

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