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Libya’s El Feel and Sharara oilfields resume production after protests

Production at Libya’s Sharara and El Feel oilfields has resumed, days after being shut due to protests.

Sharara has partially resumed at 30,000 barrels per day, with output expected to return to normal on Sunday, Reuters reported, citing engineers.

Operations were halted on Thursday after tribal leaders protested against the apparent arrest of a former finance minister.

The Sharara field, one of Libya’s largest production areas with a capacity of 300,000 bpd, has been a frequent target for protesters fuelled by political causes.

The site is in the Murzuq basin in the south-east and is run by state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) via Acacus alongside Spain’s Repsol, France’s TotalEnergies, Austria’s OMV and Norway’s Equinor.

El Feel field, with a capacity of 70,000 bpd, is operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas, a joint venture between NOC and Italy’s Eni.

NOC could not be immediately reached for a comment.

Earlier on Saturday, Libya’s oil minister Muhammad Aoun told Dubai-based Asharq TV that the closure of the oilfields had led to a production loss of 340,000 bpd.

Libya, Opec’s seventh-largest crude oil producer, has been looking to boost production after years of being plagued by conflict and political instability.

NOC plans to bolster oil production to 2.1 million bpd by 2025, from about 1.2 million bpd currently.

To reach this target, it aims to develop new projects and rehabilitate oilfields damaged during conflict while increasing power supply to the areas.

In 2021, oil revenue accounted for an estimated 98 per cent of Libya’s total government revenue, according to the country’s central bank.

The country was plunged into over a decade of chaos after a Nato-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

The country has since been politically divided, with one administration in Tripoli and another in the east backed by Gen Khalifa Haftar.

Brent crude, the benchmark for two thirds of the world’s oil, rose as much as 2 per cent on Thursday on reports of the production disruption.

Oil prices fell on Friday but posted a third weekly gain amid hopes that easing inflation in the US will drive crude demand in the world’s biggest economy.

Brent crossed the $80 per barrel-mark for the first time since April last week, as a sharp cooling in US inflation sparked hopes that the US Federal Reserve will ease off from further aggressive interest rate increases.
Source: The National

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