Libyan security woes seen in field closure

The July 19-22 shutdown of Libya’s largest oil field indicates “the deteriorating security conditions at oil and gas sites,” says an analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.

The July 19-22 shutdown of Libya’s largest oil field indicates “the deteriorating security conditions at oil and gas sites,” says an analyst at Verisk Maplecroft.

El Sharara oil field was producing 290,000 b/d when saboteurs closed a pipeline valve, forcing the National Oil Corp. to declare force majeure on crude loadings, reported Hamish Kinnear, Verisk Maplecroft politics analyst, Middle East and North Africa.

The NOC lifted force majeure on July 22 after valve, between Hamada oil field and the port at Zawiya, was reopened.

El Sharara, which news reports said resumed flow at a reduced rate, had accounted for about 30% of Libyan output.

The militia group known as the Libyan National Army (LNA) and its affiliates control territory encompassing most of the country’s oil and gas production.

The LNA marched on Tripoli in April and remains embroiled in fighting there.

“This has sucked in the LNA’s resources from elsewhere in Libya, weakening its already loose hold over territory nominally under its control, particularly in the center and southwest of the country,” Kinnear said in a research note.

“With the continuing demands of the front lines in and around Tripoli, the LNA has fewer resources available to protect the oil and gas infrastructure in areas under its control.”

The group therefore will become “increasingly unable to prevent disruptive sabotage attacks” like the one that closed El Sharara.

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