Libyan oilfield ‘won’t reopen until occupiers leave’

Mustafa Sanalla, NOC chairman, said efforts to restart the field had been complicated by the launch of an international counter-terrorism mission. (Reuters)
Updated 30 January 2019
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Libyan oilfield ‘won’t reopen until occupiers leave’

  • El Sharara with a capacity to produce 340,000 barrels per day, has been under force majeure since December
  • Libya’s oil industry has faced disruption since 2011 when the nation plunged into conflict that led to rival power centers in west and east

LONDON: Libya’s biggest oilfield El Sharara will remain shut until an armed group and protesters occupying the site leave, the head of the National Oil Corp. (NOC) said on Tuesday, more than a month after the field was closed because of a protest.
The oilfield, with a capacity to produce 340,000 barrels per day (bpd), has been under force majeure since December. Libya now produces more than 900,000 bpd, below average production in 2018 of 1.1 million bpd, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in London.
“The armed group attempting to hold NOC and Libya’s economic recovery to ransom must leave the field before NOC will consider restarting production,” Sanalla told a Chatham House conference.
Libya’s oil industry has faced disruption since 2011 when the nation plunged into conflict that led to rival power centers in west and east. Protesters and armed groups have often targeted oilfields and energy infrastructure.

 

General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is based in east Libya, launched a campaign this month in southwest Libya that it says aimed to combat militant groups and secure oil facilities in the area, including El Sharara.
NOC is based in the capital Tripoli, in the west and home to the internationally recognized government.
Referring to the LNA initiative, Sanalla said the effort to restart the field “has been complicated further by the launch of an international counter-terrorism mission which has expanded into an attempt to seize control of territory, including potentially, national oil infrastructure.”
“It is my concern that a sequence of events has been set in motion with unknowable consequences for Libya, and NOC,” he said.
He said the preferred solution for securing the field involved deploying a Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) force, managed by NOC. Different factions of the PFG have previously been responsible for shutdowns at oil facilities in the country. He said NOC has suggested that “a mixed force might provide a solution within a negotiated security framework” led by the Government of National Accord in Tripoli and with the support of the UN.

FASTFACTS

Libya’s oil industry has faced disruption since 2011 when the nation plunged into conflict that led to rival power centers in west and east. Protesters and armed groups have often targeted oilfields and energy infrastructure.


Gulf stocks extend losses on tanker attacks

Updated 17 June 2019
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Gulf stocks extend losses on tanker attacks

  • Cautious mood among investors as fears of military confrontation rise

DUBAI: Stock markets in the Gulf extended losses on Sunday reflecting a cautious mood among investors following last week’s oil tanker attacks. 

The attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday raised fears of a military confrontation in a vital shipping route for global oil supply and heightened tensions between Iran and the US, which have been in a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program. 

The Saudi index had dropped 1.6 percent on Thursday and fell a further 0.6 percent on Sunday after slight gains in early trade. Most Saudi banks were down, despite Sunday’s announcement by Saudi British Bank that its merger with Alawwal Bank was completed. 

HIGHLIGHTS

• Gulf stocks reverse early gains.

• Gulf of Oman tanker attacks dampen investor mood.

• Saudi banks mostly down despite SABB-Alawwal merger.

The two banks have combined to create the country’s third largest lender, becoming a single listed company after regulatory approvals. SABB’s shares shed 0.1 percent. Alinma Bank, however, gained 0.4 percent, and was one of the stocks registering the highest trading volume on Sunday. 

In the UAE, the Dubai and Abu Dhabi indexes fell 0.7 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. The Dubai market had risen earlier in the day, boosted by DAMAC Properties and Union Properties, which closed up 2.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. But heavyweight Emaar Properties, the largest developer in the emirate, fell 2.5 percent, weighing on the index. 

Dubai’s telecom operator Du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co) shed 0.4 percent, reversing earlier gains, after it said the UAE sovereign wealth fund Emirates Investment Authority had increased its stake by buying 463.3 million shares from Mamoura Diversified Global Holding and General Investments. 

In Abu Dhabi, blue chip companies Aldar Properties, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for Distribution, led losses, dragging down the main index. The other Gulf markets were all in the red, except for the Bahrain index, which rose slightly. 

In Egypt, the index gained 0.2 percent, boosted by a 4.5 percent gain by Pioneers Holding Company for Financial Investments. The company said one of its divisions, Arab Dairy Products, had received a letter of intent from a Netherlands based company about a plan to buy it.