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.

FASTFACTS

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.


Hong Kong airport transit from June 1 excludes mainland flights: Cathay Pacific

Updated 4 min 31 sec ago

Hong Kong airport transit from June 1 excludes mainland flights: Cathay Pacific

  • Transit through the airport has been barred since March 25
  • Cathay has cut capacity by around 97 percent due to a fall in demand and strict quarantine regulations

SYDNEY: Cathay Pacific Airways said on Saturday that the reopening of transit services for passengers at Hong Kong International Airport from June 1 will not include those traveling to and from mainland China.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced earlier this week that some transit passengers would be allowed through the hub from Monday, but did not provide further details. Transit through the airport has been barred since March 25 as part of measures taken to help control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cathay said travelers could transit Hong Kong if their itinerary was on a single booking and the connection time to the next flight was within eight hours.
“In this first phase, transiting to and from destinations in mainland China is not available,” the airline said on its website.
China’s aviation regulator has been flooded with tens of thousands of social media comments criticizing it and the Chinese government for the small number of flight options to bring home people stranded overseas.
The regulator drastically reduced the number of allowed international flights to prevent the potential of importing COVID-19 infections. Many foreign airlines are barred altogether and mainland carriers can fly just one weekly passenger flight on one route to any country, which has sent fares skyrocketing.
That rule does not apply to airlines from Hong Kong, such as Cathay, which are allowed more flights to and from the mainland, but the airline’s statement on Saturday indicated it cannot immediately take advantage of the boom in demand.
Cathay has cut capacity by around 97 percent due to a fall in demand and strict quarantine regulations associated with the pandemic.
Rival Asian hub Singapore, which is not allowed nearly as many mainland flights, is gradually allowing some transit traffic to resume from June 2.