05 March 2015, Tripoli – Libya has declared force majeure on 11 of its oilfields due to the deteriorating security situation after several oil installations and ports were targeted by attacks, the state-run National Oil Corporation said in a statement on its website on Wednesday.
Libya is caught up in a conflict between two rival governments, and several of its oil ports and oilfields have been hit in battles or taken over by Islamist militants profiting from the chaos as the United Nations tries to broker a peace deal.
The oil assets covered by the force majeure included Mabrouk and Bahi, which security officials said were overrun by Islamist militants earlier this week after security forces guarding the installations were forced to retreat.
Both of those oil operations were empty after staff were evacuated earlier. Mabrouk, which produced around 40,000 barrels per day before it closed, had been assaulted last month by Islamist militants claiming loyalty to Islamic State, an attack that killed at least 12 people.
Militants have gained ground in Libya, where the two rival governments and their armed forces are battling for control, leaving the North African state struggling with instability. (http://bit.ly/1stYSAO) Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf oil ports – responsible for half of Libya’s oil output when operating normally – have both been closed since December because of fighting.
The North African OPEC nation’s production is currently around 400,000 barrels per day, less than half the 1.6 million bpd it produced before the NATO-backed war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
*Mostafa Hashem, Patrick Markey; Bernard Orr – Reuters