Libyan Official Says Libya’s Largest Oil Field Resumes Production


An official said on Sunday that Libya’s biggest oilfield is resuming production, which had been halted for almost five months due to the closure of oil fields and ports.

According to Ali El-Zeeb, the commander of the petroleum facilities guards aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA), the restart of the Sharara field follows the reopening this Friday of a valve on the pipeline running to the port of Zawiya.

It is worth noting that the Sharara field was producing as much as 300,000 barrels per day before the shutdown in mid-January.

Sharara field is a joint venture between the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and Total SA, Repsol SA, OMV AG and Equinor ASA.

It restarts operations because of the retreat of fighters loyal to Khalifa Haftar from western Libya, who have been battling to gain control the capital, Tripoli, from the GNA for more than a year.

Supporters of the Libyan National Army’s Commander Khalifa Haftar have blockaded major oilfields and ports since January, cutting output in the North African nation from as much as 1.2 million barrels per day to just 90,000 barrels per day.

On Saturday, Haftar said in Cairo that he accepted an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire and a political initiative to end the war — steps that could open the door to the eventual full recovery of oil production.

The vast majority of NOC facilities have been closed since January 17, 2020. Global oil prices have also crashed as the Coronavirus pandemic hits demand, with no prospect of a quick recovery in sight.

The blockade comes amid continued fighting between Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s LNA, loyal to the eastern-based Interim Government, and forces loyal to the GNA in Tripoli.