Libya restarts production at El Sharara oilfield - engineers

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the El Sharara oilfield, Libya December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitoun/File Photo

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya is gradually restarting production at the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s largest, two field engineers and an oil industry source said on Thursday, after unknown gunmen had blocked a pipeline.

“Production has restarted,” said one of the engineers.

There was no immediate official comment from state oil firm NOC.

The field, south of Zawiya port in western Libya, and which produces around 290,000 barrels per day (bpd), was shut late in July by an armed group.

The field accounts for a quarter of Libya’s oil production.

That shutdown prompted NOC to declare force majeure on loadings of the crude grade.

Prior to the shutdown, Libya was producing 1.2-1.3 million bpd, a six-year high for the OPEC member which has struggled to return to a pre-civil war capacity of 1.6 million bpd.

Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Ayman al-Warfalli; Editing by Susan Fenton and Alexandra Hudson