July 21, 2019 / 12:46 AM / a month ago

Libya's NOC declares force majeure at key Sharara oilfield after valve closure

A general view of the El Sharara oilfield, Libya December 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny/File Photo

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s state oil company National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared force majeure late on Saturday at the country’s largest oilfield, El Sharara, after it was shut down the previous day due to a suspected valve closure.

The strategic oilfield has been the target of numerous shutdowns by both protesters and armed groups in recent years.

Crude oil shipments to the port of Zawiya, some 49 km (30.4 miles) west of Tripoli, have been halted as a result of the closure, the NOC said in a statement.

The shutdown caused a loss of about 290,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production worth an estimated $19 million, it said.

Oil output in Libya was reduced to a little over 1 million bpd on Saturday, a NOC official told Reuters.

The shutdown of El Sharara has not affected the El Feel oilfield, which is located near Sharara.

The public treasury will have to meet the needs of the local fuel market as a result of the continued shutdown of a refinery at Zawiya that relies on fuel from Sharara, the NOC also said in the statement.

The closure is an act of “sabotage” detrimental to oil revenues and the supply of electricity in the country, NOC said.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami and Ali Abdelaty, editing by G Crosse

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