11 August 2015 Tripoli – Libya’s El Sharara and El Feel oilfields remain closed due to protests and a pipeline blockage, oil officials said on Monday. Tribal elders have been trying for months to resume work at both fields, which could add some 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, doubling Libya’s current output.
Unconfirmed postings on social media suggested there had been progress in the talks but Mohamed El Harari, spokesman for state oil firm NOC, said the fields were still closed.
An oil source at the western Zawiya port linked to the El Sharara oilfield said there were efforts to reopen the 340,000-bpd field but so far there was no breakthrough.
An engineer at El Feel also said there was no sign of output resuming. The two oilfields have been shuttered by salary demands from security guards and the country’s conflict between the two rival governments vying for control of the north African OPEC state.
Libya has two governments, with the official premier working out of the east of the country after losing control of Tripoli a year ago to a rival administration, part of a wider struggle four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
The El Sharara field, co-run by NOC and Spain’s Repsol, has been closed since November after a community in Zintan, west of Tripoli, closed the pipeline.
The Zintanis, who oppose the rival government in Tripoli, have demanded that forces loyal to Tripoli leave the field.
The Zintanis have also blocked a pipeline from the southern El Feel oilfield, co-run by NOC and Italy’s ENI.
Libya’s oil production has fallen to less than 400,000 bpd, a quarter of what the North African OPEC member pumped before an uprising toppled Gaddafi in 2011 and sent the country and its oil industry into turmoil.
*Ahmed Elumami, Ayman al-Warfalli & Ulf Laessing, Louise Heavens & David Evans – Reuters