BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya’s Sharara oilfield, the country’s largest, has been shut down since Saturday because of a pipeline blockade, industry sources and an engineer said.
State-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared force majeure on loadings of Sharara crude from the Zawiya oil terminal on Sunday, a document seen by Reuters showed.
Sharara had been producing up to 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) in recent weeks. The field has experienced several temporary shutdowns because of protests by armed groups and oil workers since it reopened last December after a two-year pipeline blockade.
A Libyan oil source said the group blockading the pipeline since Saturday had also shut it in the past. The exact location of the blockade and the group’s demands were not clear, an industry source said.
There was no immediate comment from NOC in Tripoli, which runs Sharara in a joint venture with oil companies Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil.
Sharara’s production is key to a revival in Libya’s oil output, which surged above 1 million bpd in late June, about four times higher than its level last summer.
Production at Sharara dipped earlier in the month because of security breaches that NOC last week said had been resolved.
Reporting by Libby George, Ahmad Ghaddar and Ayman al-Warfalli; Editing by David Goodman