Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed Sunday the resumption of production at its Sharara oil field, south of the country, while production is still blocked since January at Libya’s main eastern oilfields under the control of Khalifa Hafter’s forces.
NOC said that production restarted after lengthy negotiations to reopen the Hamada valve, which had been illegally closed by militias since January, and that the first production phase will start at a capacity of 30,000 barrels/day, reported the Libyan Herald.
The facility closure had resulted in the shutdown of production and collapse of the 16,000-barrel capacity Surge Tank at the field, after an armed militia prevented NOC’s teams from carrying out maintenance operations.
NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla was quoted by the news outlet as saying that “the Libyan economy has suffered enough from the illegal blockades and we have much to do, and we hope that the restart of production at the Sharara oil field will be a first step to reviving the Libyan oil and gas sector and preventing an economic collapse in Libya in these difficult times”.
According to NOC, production at the field is expected to return to full capacity within 90 days due to the damage caused by the very long shutdown.
The NOC said that the illegal 142-day blockade cost the public treasury losses estimated at about $ 5.3 billion.