Libya’s Al Sharara Back in Production - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

Libya’s Al Sharara Back in Production

By Mohammed Jetutu, in Cairo

The prospect of Libya producing less than 900,000 Barrels per day of crude in January 2024, still remains, but the country has had a reprieve with the return of the Al Sharara field to production.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC), Libya’s state hydrocarbon company, says it has lifted force majeure on the large onshore  oilfield, located in the Murzuq Basin, around  two weeks after it was shut in due to protests.

Al Sharara is one of the largest single accumulations on duty in the country, with a production capacity of more than 300,000 barrels per day of oil. By some accounts, it produces around a third of the country’s output.

The January 7, 2024 shut in was due to eruption of protests demanding the establishment of an oil refinery in the host community, along with improvements to deteriorating roads and increased employment opportunities for locals within oil companies.

The protesters also threatened to shut down the vital Mellitah oil and gas complex, thus heightening the possibility of a return to the kind of instability that has ket Libya away from its promise of reaching 2Million Barrels of Oil Per Day..

Al Sharara oil field consists of oil accumulations in the blocks NC115 and NC 186, situated approximately 700kilometres south of Tripoli in the Sahara Desert. The first oil discovery in the block NC115 was made by Rompetrol in 1984. The blocks NC115 and NC186 are spread over approximately 8,700 square kiloetres.. Repsol acquired Rompetrol’s stake in the block in March 1993.

First oil was commissioned in  NC115 in December 1996, while the first discovery in block NC186 was made by Repsol in 2000. Production from block NC186 started in 2003.

Al Sharara output has been, however, severely challenged since a NATO backed militia ousted Libya strongman Moamer Ghaddafi  in 2011. The field has experienced multiple production disruptions due to interventions by armed groups.

What could be termed a relatively steady production at the Al Sharara field resumed in January 2017 after a two-year closure caused by a pipeline blockade from November 2014 to December 2016. But the facility keeps being “stopped an started” as a result of  protests such s the one that manifested on January 7, 2024.

Current partners with stakes in the asset include NOC, TOTALEnergies, Repsol, OMV and Equinor.

 

 

 

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