Armed group led by Mohamed Khalifa, also an ally of warlord Khalifa Haftar, shuts Sharara oilfield at gunpoint, days after it had restarted following another blockade.
An armed group allied with warlord Khalifa Haftar's militia stormed Libya's largest oilfield, shutting production again just days after it had resumed.
Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that the armed group, led by Mohamed Khalifa, stormed the Sharara oilfield and instructed employees at gunpoint to shut it down early on Tuesday, days after the field had restarted following another blockade.
Armed group threatens Sharara oilfield workers and coerces them to stop production........... #NOC declares force majeure on Sharara oilfield crude exportshttps://t.co/ui1A3velLk pic.twitter.com/9yBRSf68zs— National Oil Corporation المؤسسة الوطنية للنفط (@NOC_Libya) June 9, 2020
Sharara field has regularly been a target since Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising in 2011 that has split the North African country and led to years of political chaos and violence.
Mohamed Khalifa heads one of the forces affiliated with warlord Haftar's illegal militia, which blockaded most of Libya's oil in January.
His forces have been retreating after their campaign to capture the capital, Tripoli, fell apart.
Production at Sharara, which previously had an output of around 300,000 barrels per day, had been resuming gradually since Saturday after the reopening of a pipeline valve that had been closed since January due to the earlier blockade.
Sharara field had not itself been blockaded in the previous incident, although NOC said an armed militia had prevented maintenance on a 16,000-barrel tank, which collapsed as a result.
NOC said the latest shutdown would cause further technical damage.
NOC runs Sharara in a joint venture with Spain's Repsol, France's Total, Austria's OMV, and Norway's Equinor.
NOC had announced the lifting of force majeure on production at Sharara and at El Feel field on Monday.