Libya said it halted the Sharara field, its biggest oil producer, following a rocket attack at the connected Zawiya refinery, threatening almost 30 percent of the OPEC member’s production.
The Sharara field, producing about 250,000 barrels a day before the disruption, was shut as a precaution after an attack two days ago on the refinery, Mansur Abdallah, director of oil movement at the Zawiya plant, said by phone today. The North African nation, still restoring output after more than a year of political unrest and protests, was producing 870,000 barrels a day as of Sept. 14, National Oil Corp. spokesman Mohamed Elharari said that day.
The disruption “serves as a reminder that despite recovering export rates and the National Oil Corp.’s reassurances of stable supplies, the country remains in a state of civil war, where anything can happen,” Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London, said by e-mail.
Libya’s output has recovered after rebels lifted a yearlong blockade of eastern oil ports in July, which had diminished the North African nation to the smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Still, Islamist militias have expanded their influence after seizing Tripoli, the capital, last month and the country’s government has had to relocate to the eastern city of al-Bayda.
Sharara is 720 kilometers (450 miles) south of Zawiya and the two sites are connected by a pipeline, Abdallah said. While Sharara has a similar capacity to the Waha field in central Libya, it was producing more prior to the shutdown, the Oil Ministry’s Director of Measurement Ibrahim Al-Awami said by phone.
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