Libya’s NOC chief says instability could lead to 95% oil production loss

The Zella field belongs to Zueitina Oil Company, which pumped 19,000 barrels per day on average in the last quarter of 2018 across all its fields. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 May 2019

Libya’s NOC chief says instability could lead to 95% oil production loss

  • Sanalla also said an attack happened near Zella oilfield earlier on Saturday
  • Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency

JEDDAH: Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief said on Saturday continued instability in Libya could make it lose 95% of its oil production.

"Unfortunately if the situation will continue like this I’m afraid that maybe 95% of production will be lost," Mustafa Sanalla told reporters in Jeddah ahead of a ministerial panel gathering on Sunday of top OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Sanalla also said an attack had happened near Zella oilfield earlier on Saturday.

Two guards were killed and four others were kidnapped early on Saturday in a suspected Daesh attack targeting the oilfield, a security source said.

The attackers struck at an entrance gate to the field, which lies near the town of Zella about 760 km (470 miles) southwest of the capital, Tripoli. They killed the two guards before fleeing, the source and local residents asking not to be named told Reuters.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack through its Aamaq news agency later on Saturday.

The Zella field belongs to Zueitina Oil Company, which pumped 19,000 barrels per day on average in the last quarter of 2018 across all its fields.

An engineer told Reuters workers at the field were safe and facilities had not been damaged.

Daesh has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The militant group took control of the coastal city of Sirte in 2015 but lost it late in 2016 to local forces backed by US air strikes.

In the last two years, the group has targeted three state institutions in Tripoli, home of the Tripoli-based government of national accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj.

Saturday's assault took place as general Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, mounts an offensive to control Tripoli.


First direct commercial flight from Israel lands in Bahrain

Updated 1 min 1 sec ago

First direct commercial flight from Israel lands in Bahrain

  • Flight data showed an Israir Airlines Airbus A320 landed at Bahrain International Airport after a nearly three-hour flight from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion
  • The flight was made without ceremony, in sharp contrast to the first El Al flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates at the end of August

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: The first known direct commercial flight between Israel and Bahrain landed Wednesday in the island kingdom, just a week after it signed a deal alongside the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations.
Flight data showed an Israir Airlines Airbus A320 landed at Bahrain International Airport after a nearly three-hour flight from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport.
There was no immediate acknowledgement of the flight from the Israeli government, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday spoke by telephone to Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Bahrain’s state-run media did not immediately acknowledge the flight. Officials on the island off the coast of Saudi Arabia did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The US Embassy in Manama similarly did not respond to a request for comment.
The flight was made without ceremony, in sharp contrast to the first El Al flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates at the end of August. That plane carried US and Israeli officials, including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as media.
The flight Wednesday comes as Israel has gone back into a lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic. In Bahrain, civil society groups have criticized the move to normalize relations with Israel, saying that recognition should come only after Palestinians obtain their own independent state.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and a British naval base.
Bahrain and the UAE signed normalization agreements Sept. 15 with Israel at the White House, part of a US diplomatic push as Trump seeks re-election.
The UAE and Israel have moved quickly to explore commercial ties after their normalization deal, bringing to light a relationship previously kept quiet.
Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa previously had been quoted as saying he believed Arab countries should drop their boycott of Israel.