NOC declares force majeure on Sharara as protests continue

Jan 7, 2024 | Libyan actors

On 7 January, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) officially declared a state of force majeure on production from Sharara due to the cessation of production of crude due to ongoing protests at the field which began on 2 January over poor living conditions in the South. At the time of writing on 9 January, operations at Sharara are completely shut down – taking around 300,000 bpd offline. The NOC said that negotiations are ongoing to resume production as soon as possible. There are mixed reports about the status of nearby al-Feel oilfield: Libyan media reported the field closed on 3 January, but rectified that report the following day. There was condemnation of the blockade from actors in the oil sector in the run up to the NOC declaring force majeure. On 3 January, the Government of National Unity’s (GNU) Ministry of Oil and Gas (MOOG) issued a statement condemning the Sharara blockade, warning that it could cause an electricity crisis and the departure of foreign partners. It also mentioned the risk for the sector of losing credibility worldwide, thus damaging the efforts ‘undertaken by the Ministry in acknowledging to the world that Libya is witnessing broad stability in production, and clear stability in the security aspects accompanying this production’. On 4 January, the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) condemned the Sharara shutdown as an ‘irresponsible act that will directly affect the national economy’ and as ‘an act against the general interest of the state and Libyans’.