Libya’s NOC to assess security at El Sharara oilfield before resuming production

The eastern forces launched an offensive in mid-January to secure the southern oilfields, which include El Sharara. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Libya’s NOC to assess security at El Sharara oilfield before resuming production

  • The field, which had been producing about 315,000 barrels per day (bpd), was closed after a group of state guards and tribesmen seized it
  • Libyan forces loyal to a commander based in the east of the politically divided nation took control of the field last week

BENGHAZI, Libya: Libyan state oil firm NOC will reopen the El Sharara oilfield, the country’s biggest, only after an inspection to establish security, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The comments came shortly after officials for eastern Libyan forces said they handed over control of the field to an oil security force to encourage NOC to restart production that has been halted since December.
Control over the oilfield has been claimed by different forces since tribesmen and state guards seized it in December, making financial and other demands. NOC declared force majeure, a waiver on its contracts.
“NOC has sent an inspection team to assess security at Sharara and to verify that all armed militia have left the field prior to force majeure being lifted,” the spokesman said by text message.
A no-fly zone imposed by the eastern military meant this could take some days, he said, adding that the zone indicated a “serious continuing threat level.”
The eastern military has said it will not allow flights to southern Libya without its permission.
“We call on NOC to lift force majeure,” said Naji Al-Maghrabi, the eastern-based commander of the state oil guards appointed to protect the field, in a statement posted online.
A spokesman for the eastern military confirmed the handing over of the field to the oil force.
It was not immediately clear if handing over security to guards under the control of an eastern-based commander would meet NOC’s demands.
The eastern forces launched an offensive in mid-January to secure the southern oilfields, which include El Sharara. 


Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

Updated 23 May 2019
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Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

  • The commander said they will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for their enemies
  • Tensions between Iran and US escalated after Trump restored sanctions

GENEVA: The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills,” a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.
Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!“
Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.
Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”
Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”
He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.
“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.
In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials to try to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.