Libya urges against escalation at El Sharara oilfield

The main production area at Libya’s El Sharara oilfield is still being held by armed tribesmen. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2019

Libya urges against escalation at El Sharara oilfield

  • Main production area at El Sharara still held by armed tribesmen
  • Libya’s National Oil Corp. says it will not resume normal operations until security has been restored

BENGHAZI/LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Corp. on Friday urged all parties to avoid escalation at the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s largest, and said it would not resume normal operations until security had been restored.
“Worker safety remains our primary concern,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement. “We urge all parties to avoid conflict and the politicization of key infrastructure.”
The eastern-based Libyan National Army said on Wednesday it had seized the 315,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) southwestern field from tribesmen and protesters who forced operations to halt when they took the site on Dec. 8.
But an engineer at the field told Reuters that eastern forces were controlling only a pumping substation and that the main production area was still held by armed tribesmen.


 The field manager had communicated with all parties in the vicinity of the site and urged restraint, the NOC said.
In a statement, the LNA said any plane planning to take off or land in any airport in the south from midnight on Thursday would require approval from the air force operations room. It said this would apply to local or foreign flights, adding it would treat any aircraft contravening those orders as an enemy target.
This effectively means the NOC would be unable to fly to El Sharara without permission from Haftar’s forces.
Oil production in Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has been disrupted since conflict broke out in 2011, with protesters and armed groups often targeting oilfields and energy infrastructure.
National production now stands at under 1 million bpd, well below pre-2011 capacity of 1.6 million bpd.


Libya is losing $30 million a day due to the closure of the El Sharara oil field, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya said Thursday. The Libyan National Army (LNA), based in the east of the politically divided country, said earlier that it had seized the El Sharara field from tribesmen and protesters who forced operations to halt when they took the site on Dec. 8. The main production area is still occupied by armed tribesmen, a field engineer told Reuters on Thursday.

Gulf stocks extend losses on tanker attacks

Updated 46 min 14 sec ago

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. 


• 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.