By Jamal Adel in Kufra and Jamie Prentis in Tunis.
25 February 2018:
The National Oil Corporation (NOC) has declared a state of force majeure at the El-Fil (El-Feel) oilfield in the Murzuq basin following a deterioration in security.
The NOC said certain members claiming to be from the Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) had threatened workers, tampered with official papers and fired their guns in the air. The oilfield has been shut down and employees evacuated.
Members of the PFG were understood to have been disgruntled over the delayed payment of salaries and held protests over the issue on Wednesday.
NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said the PFG operated under the Ministry of Defence and it was they who should meet their demands.
“The NOC supplies the PFG members in the field with fuel and supplies but cannot supply hundreds of those who claim to be members of the PFG in areas far and away from the scope of the oil sector operations,” said Sanalla.
An NOC statement said the PFG members who wanted money had “nothing to do with the oil sector”.
Ultimately “The safety and security of workers is a priority for the NOC and is more important than oil production,” added Sanalla. He also said the NOC was in contact with tribal leaders from the Tebu in an effort to resolve the problem.
In the past week it was reported there was a 13.5 percent decrease in gas supplies to Italy via the Mediterranean green stream pipeline.
Though El-Fil has a capacity of 340,000 barrels per day (bpd), it was understood to have been functioning at 72,000 bpd before the disruption.
El-Fil is a joint venture between the National Oil Corporation and Italian energy giant ENI. It exports to the Mellitah oil and gas complex between Zuwara and Sabratha via the Reyayna pipeline.
Exports from El-Fil have frequently been disrupted following blockades.