Libya’s oil minister says closure of oilfields cost 340,000 barrels

The ongoing closure of several oilfields in Libya has cost the North African country the production of 340,000 oil barrels, oil minister Mohamed Aoun told Dubai-based Asharq TV.

Production at the El Feel, Sharara and 108 oilfields was shut on Thursday in a protest by the Al-Zawi tribe against the abduction of former finance minister Faraj Bumatari, according to a tribal leader.

Before the closures, Libya was producing about 1,2 million barrels per day (bpd).

In a statement released early on Saturday, the oil ministry said the closure of the three Libyan oil fields could lead to the declaration of force majeure.

Oil installations have often been attacked or blockaded by armed groups who hold sway in Libya [Getty- archive]

“The loss of confidence in the continuity of Libyan oil supply to the global market will result in a loss of market share for Libyan oil and decreased demand for it,” the ministry said.

It added that the oilfield closures could lead to an “irreversible loss of importers” due to concerns about supply instability.

The Sharara field is one of Libya’s largest production areas, with a capacity of 300,000 bpd. It has been a frequent target of political strife.

Zawi tribe leader Al-Senussi al-Ahlaiq told Reuters that the closure of El Feel was aimed at pressuring authorities in Tripoli to release Bumatari, who was kidnapped after arriving at Mitiga airport on Tuesday.

Bumatari is a candidate for central bank governor, which “makes him vulnerable to danger and kidnapping”, the tribe said in a statement.

Source: Reuters