The National Oil Corporation (NOC), Libya’s state-owned oil company, declared on Thursday force majeure in Sidra, Ras Lanuf and El-Feel oilfields due to shutdowns which caused $3 billion loss (16 billion Libyan dinars).
“We are forced to declare a state of force majeure on the terminals of Asidra and Ras Lanuf, in addition to the Al-Feel field, with the continuation of the state of force majeure on the terminals of Brega and Zueitina,” NOC quoted its chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, as saying in a statement released Thursday evening,
“Our patience has run out after we have repeatedly tried to avoid declaring the state of force majeure, but the implementation of our obligations has become impossible,” Sanalla said.
The oil company said it was no longer able to “feed the power stations of Zuetina, North Benghazi and Sarir with their needs of natural gas, due to the connection between crude oil production and gas from the fields of the Waha and Mellitah companies, leading to a shortage of natural gas supply to the coastal pipeline.”
According to NOC, Libya’s oil production has “decreased and declined sharply”, as daily exports have ranged from 365 to 409 thousand barrels per day, a decrease of 865,000 barrels per day from normal production rates under normal circumstances, in addition to the loss of 90 million cubic feet per day of Fareg field’s gas.
Sanalla blamed these outcomes on the forceful shutdown of production, political disputes between the country’s rival parties as well as “the refusal of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance to monetize allocations in US dollars”.
The NOC chairman also criticized by name Oil Minister Mohamed Aoun, who serves in the cabinet of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, and accused him of ‘misleading public opinion’ and ‘manipulating facts’.
The two officials have had long-running disagreements over management of the country’s oil sector, which aggravated to tit-for-tat moves including trading accusations publicly.