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 activists vow to confront Rouhani over ‘medieval’ regime

Updated 21 September 2019

Iran activists vow to confront Rouhani over ‘medieval’ regime

  • ‘We will continue protesting until Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against people of Iran’

WASHINGTON: Protesters have vowed to confront Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over the country’s “medieval regime” when he addresses the UN on Wednesday.

People started gathering last week near the UN’s headquarters in New York and their numbers will continue to grow, according to the political director for the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC), which coordinates anti-Tehran activism in the US.

The OIAC’s Dr. Majid Sadeghpour said the international community should not be “fooled” by Iran's representatives. 

“No amount of economic and political concessions can moderate the behavior of this medieval regime,” he said. 

“The mullahs understand only the language of power and firmness. Maximum pressure must be applied to help the Iranian people free themselves from the yoke of the mullahs. We began protesting last week in anticipation of the opening of the UN General Assembly’s 74th Session and the appearance of Iran's officials, and we will continue protesting until the Iranian regime is held responsible for its ongoing atrocities against the people of Iran.”

Protestors were holding daily vigils to remind the world about Iran's history of terror and brutality against its people, he added, and Trump and the UN must “reject the false pretenses of moderation” from Rouhani and his representatives.

Sadeghpour said Rouhani and other Iranian officials should be held accountable for the killing of more than 120,000 Iranian civilians, including the 30,000 murdered during a gruesome nationwide purge in 1988.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has previously addressed protests against the Iranian government, is expected to join former Sen. Joseph Lieberman in speaking to protesters at next week’s rallies.

Trump had previously accused Iran of terrorism and violence, but appeared to soften his stance when he said he would meet Rouhani if he came to the opening session of the UN’s 74th General Assembly.

But a week ago, after a coordinated drone and cruise missile attack targeted Saudi Aramco oil fields in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, Trump said the US military was “locked and loaded,” suggesting the US was ready to go to war with Iran. 

Trump said he would move to block Rouhani and his team from attending the UN meeting, but he later relented.

On Friday he revealed details of additional sanctions against Iran, which he described as the toughest ever imposed.

The Treasury Department decided to take action against Iran’s central bank after US officials concluded Tehran was responsible for the drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.