Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) has declared force majeure on exports from the El Sharara oil field, it said on Monday, after tribesmen and state security guards seized the facility.
NOC said in a statement the shut down of its biggest oilfield would result in a daily site production loss of 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), and an additional loss of 73,000 bpd at the El Feel oilfield.
It said production at the Zawiya refinery was also at risk due to its dependence on crude oil supply from Sharara.
“NOC demands that the group leave the oil field immediately without pre-condition,” the statement said.
The tribesmen stormed into the field premises on Saturday after NOC said some guards, supported by locals, had opened the gates, driving around in jeeps and filming themselves in videos they sent to journalists.
They stayed overnight in the vast, partly unsecured area, making good on a threat to stop production issued first in October should authorities not provide more development funds for their impoverished region.
With Libya divided into two weak governments, armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to take their anger out over high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.
Before the force majeure, Libya had been producing up to 1.3 million bpd, the highest level since 2013 when a wave of oilfield blockages started, part of turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
Libya’s NOC declares force majeure on El Sharara oil exports