Sharara Oil Field closed since Sunday

By John Lee.

An armed group -- believed to be Brigade 30 -- forced the closure of the giant Sharara oilfield late on Sunday.

Mustafa Sanalla, National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman, said on Monday that the closure had already caused a loss of $16 million.

Production at Sharara is normally in the range of 230,000-to-280,000 barrels per day (bpd), and is said to have been 234,000 bpd just before this shutdown, with total national production put at 1 million bpd.

Xinhua quotes Sanalla as saying:

"We have been informed that those responsible for protecting the field have closed it since yesterday on the grounds that they have not been paid their salaries for years, and that they have abductees from the south demanding their release. They also demand supply of fuel in the cities of the south."

Sharara is run as a joint venture between the NOC, Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil.

(Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, Xinhua)

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