Libya resumes oil output at largest field after ‘sabotage’
Libya announced the resumption of production Monday at its largest oil field and the loading of crude at a shipping terminal, following a three-day suspension due to “sabotage” of a pipeline.
Al-Sharara, about 900 kilometres (560 miles) south of Tripoli, produces 315,000 barrels per day — nearly one-third of Libya’s crude output — but is frequently attacked and blocked by militias.
“National Oil Corporation (NOC) announces the lifting of force majeure on Sharara crude oil loading from Zawiya port, following the opening of a closed valve on the pipeline connecting the Sharara oilfield to the Zawiya terminal,” which is government-controlled, the company said on its website.
Force majeure is a legal measure that frees a company from contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond its control.
NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla condemned the pipeline closure as “criminal activity” and said the firm and authorities would “find and prosecute” those responsible.
Oil exports are the source of almost all state revenue in Libya, which has the biggest proven reserves of crude in Africa.
But after the fall and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed 2011 uprising, the country fell into chaos as multiple armed groups vied for control.
The NOC had previously declared “force majeure” at the Al-Sharara site in December after it was seized by an armed group, but it reopened after forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar took control in February.