A glimpse of hope? Libya to resume limited oil production
Limited production has resumed in Libya’s Al Sharara oilfield, blockaded since October 28 by residents of the southern region of Ubari, a National Oil Company (NOC) official said on Sunday.
The southern oilfield is now producing some 60,000 barrels per day compared with its pre-October output of some 330,000 bpd, the official said. “Production at the Al Sharara well has restarted progressively since Saturday with production of 60,000 bpd pending the resumption of its normal capacity in two or three days,” said NOC spokesman Mohammad Al Harairi. The government on Thursday convinced Ubari residents to end their blockade, in which they had been protesting against their “marginalisation” and demanding oil revenues be distributed more evenly.
Al Sharara is run by Akakus, a joint venture between Libya’s NOC, Spanish company Repsol, France’s Total and Austria’s OMV.The operation of two other oilfields in eastern Libya, Msala and Sarir, resumed late last month after being suspended for several months following the shutdown of the Al Harriga terminal. Oil installation guards calling for autonomy for the eastern region of Cyrenaica sparked the crisis when they shut down key sites in the east.
Thecrisis is ongoing, and on Thursday the guards reiterated their conditions for lifting the blockade, including a bigger share of oil revenues for Cyrenaica. An attempt to mediate launched by lawmakers and civil society groups has failed to reach any concrete results.On Saturday, state-owned NOC decided to keep in place the force majeure it declared in August at its main oil terminals.
“Force majeure will be kept in place in the oil ports or Ras Lanouf, Al Sedra and Zueitina,” a statement said, warning clients against sending ships to load or unload cargos.The crisis has seen output plunge to about 250,000 bpd from nearly 1.5 million bpd before.Oil Minister Abdul Bari Al Arusi said in early December that lost production because of the blockades had cost Libya around $9.0 billion (Dh33 billion, €6.6 billion) in revenues.