Continental Focus, International Reach

El Sharara sees Force Majeure

Thursday, December 20, 2018

National Oil Corp. (NOC), Libya’s state-run oil firm, declared a force majeure on its El Sharara field, one week after announcing a contractual waiver on exports from the field following its seizure by protesters.

El Sharara, which produces 315,000 bpd, was taken over on December 8 by groups of tribesmen, armed protesters and state guards demanding salary payments and development funds. Unfortunately, NOC officials have been unable to persuade the protesters to leave.

Officials in the North African country have been unable to persuade the groups to leave the partly unsecured site amid disagreements on how best to proceed, workers at the field said.

NOC has described the occupiers as militia trying to get on the payroll as field guards.

Pumping will restart only after “alternative security arrangements are put in place,” NOC said in a statement.

“Production at Sharara was forcibly shut down by an armed group – Battalion 30 and its civilian support company – that claimed to be providing security at the field, but which threatened violence against NOC employees,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in the statement.

The blockade has been complicated by the presence of tribesmen, who have argued against quick cash payments saying they want funds to improve hospitals and other services.