Libya’s Largest Oil Field Back to Normal After Disruption

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Libya’s biggest oil field, Sharara, is “back to normal” after a disruption caused by protests in the politically fragmented country, the state National Oil Corp. (NOC) said.

Pumping was interrupted for hours after armed protesters shut some facilities, the NOC said in a statement. The company didn’t give an updated figure for production at the field, nor did it explain what caused the disturbances or say who the protesters represent. Sharara, in western Libya, was producing 275,000 B/D as of 12 July, a person with knowledge of the situation said at the time.

The field, operated by a joint venture between Libya’s state producer and Repsol, Total, OMV, and Statoil, has experienced several brief shutdowns caused by different groups. It was closed for 2 days in June because of a protest by workers there.

“Grievances and personal demands cannot be settled through causing harm to the entire population,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said on 7 August. The tactic of shutting down facilities “is an unacceptable negotiation technique,” said Sanalla, who has campaigned to end a rash of blockades at Libya’s ports and fields since he assumed leadership of the company in May 2014.

Libya’s crude output and exports reached a fresh 3-year high last month as fighting among armed militias abated and leaders of the country’s rival administrations agreed in principle on steps to unite the nation. The recovery in the country with Africa’s largest crude reserves makes it harder for OPEC and allied oil-producing nations to curb a global supply surplus that is depressing prices for the commodity.

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