Libya lifts force majeure on Sharara oil field as production restarts

Force majeure was declared on Jan 7 after protesters from the South Western Ubari region closed the field in protest at rising fuel prices, poor economic opportunity and unemployment. Sharara . is operated by a joint venture between Libya’s National Oil Corp, Equinor, OMV, Repsol and TotalEnergies. The closure, which also affected the 60,000 b/d el-Feel field, sparked fears of further protests at oil installations near Tripoli, including the Zawiya refinery and Eni’s Mellitah complex, which would hit natural gas supply to Europe through the Greenstream pipeline.

It comes as IOCs including Eni lift force majeures and return to Libya following a period of renewed stability after a 2020 truce between rival governments split between the country’s east and west. Libyan crude, which is typically light, low in sulfur and yields a good amount of middle distillates and gasoline, is extremely popular among refineries in the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe. Libya’s oil output still remains well below the 1.6 million b/d it was producing before a 2011 uprising in the country. In December, production rose to 1.14 million b/d from 1.12 million b/d in Novermber, according to the latest monthly OPEC survey by Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.