|20 July, 2019

Libya’s El Sharara oilfield shut down since Friday - state oil firm

The field was pumping around 290,000 bpd prior to the shutdown

Image used for illustrative purpose. A general view of the El Sharara oilfield, Libya December 3, 2014.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A general view of the El Sharara oilfield, Libya December 3, 2014.

REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

LONDON  - Libya’s El Sharara oilfield, its largest, has been shut down since Friday due to a suspected valve closure and an investigation has been launched, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Saturday.

It was not immediately clear what or who had caused the shutting of the valve, but the field has been the target of numerous shutdowns by protesters or armed groups in the past few years.

The field was pumping around 290,000 bpd prior to the shutdown, the NOC said, adding that the incident had occurred in Hamada, an area of desert in western Libya surrounded by a number of towns and cities.

It said production from the nearby El Feel oilfield had not been affected by the incident.

Sources had earlier told Reuters that production at El Sharara had stopped due to a valve closure on the pipeline linking the field to Zawiya port, which is also home to a refinery.

"They have shut (it) down as the pressure in the pipe was building until they find out what is going on," one of the sources said.

Libya’s overall oil production before the Sharara outage stood at 1.2-1.3 million bpd, NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla said earlier this month.

NOC operates Sharara in partnership with Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, Austria’s OMV and Norway’s Equinor.

(Reporting By Ahmad Ghaddar Editing By Maha El Dahan and Gareth Jones) ((Maha.Dahan@thomsonreuters.com; + 9712 4082101; Reuters Messaging: maha.dahan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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