Force Majeure at Libya's Largest Field

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared a state of force majeure at the Akakus-operated Sharara oil field as of Sunday, December 9, 2018.

NOC prioritizes the safety of staff and is currently reviewing evacuation procedures following threats to their wellbeing, and the forced shutdown of the oilfield by the armed militia claiming attachment to the local Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG).

NOC demands that the group leave the oil field immediately without pre-condition. NOC will not take part in negotiations with the militia or is willing to compromise following their decision to revert to violence, insulting language, and theft. In the last few months this group have committed a number of crimes including violence against staff, robbery, and interrupting operations and production.

NOC also voices concern about the weakness of the PFG who continue to neglect their responsibility of protecting the fields, staff, and the livelihoods of the Libyan people – additionally choosing to cover up crimes committed by the militia group in question.

NOC calls upon the appropriate authorities and local community leaders to act in the national interest and return security to the site. The legitimate grievances of the south, which deserve and demand a national debate, are being used by a minority of individuals for personal gain that will not benefit the people of Fezzan. NOC has been working hard to improve economic conditions in the south. This shutdown will only serve to impair our work and local opportunities.

“The presence of this group is a real threat to the field and to the future of our country” said  NOC chairman, Eng. Mustafa Sanalla. “I want to be clear, this militia has to leave the field immediately. We stand wholeheartedly with the people of the south and understand their concerns. At NOC we are doing all we can to improve the living conditions of the residents. Their legitimate demands and grievances however have been used by criminals who are only in pursuit of self-interest”.

The shutdown of Sharara will result in a daily site production loss of 315,000 barrels a day, with an additional loss of 73,000 barrels at El Feel due to its dependence on Sharara for electricity supply. Production at the Zawiya refinery is also at risk due to its dependence on crude oil supply from Sharara and will cease producing essential fuels for local consumption unless alternative supply is identified. The combined daily cost to the Libyan economy of this unnecessary shutdown is 32.5 million USD.

(Source: National Oil Corporation)

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