By Sami Zaptia.
London, 11 February 2020:
Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed yesterday that it was forced to shut down the Zawia refinery on Saturday, 8 February as a result of a valve closure in the Hamada region, on the main pipeline between Sharara field and Zawia refinery, halting production at the field.
The NOC said that the refinery shutdown will exacerbate the problem of managing, importing and distributing fuel and will lead to very significant costs to the treasury to import additional fuel to replace the refinery’s production.
“This illegal blockade is creating an unprecedented challenge for NOC to continue the supply of fuel to the Libyan people and the country’s vital facilities, such as power stations”, said NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla.
“Political interference in the Libyan oil and gas sector will have devastating short- and long-term effects on the Libyan economy and the Libyan people. This is developing into a true national crisis. Immediate action is needed to end this irresponsible blockade.”, he added.
The Zawia refinery produces 120,000 metric tons of diesel, 49,000 metric tons of petrol, 120,000 metric tons of fuel oil, 6,000 metric tons of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and 90,000 metric tons of jet fuel monthly, the NOC revealed.
The shutdown of the Zawia refinery comes on the back of the force majeure declared by the NOC on 18 January at five of its eastern oil ports of Brega, Ras Lanuf, Hariga, Zueitina and Sidra ports. It had blamed the move on ‘‘blockades on oil exports’’ imposed by the Khalifa Hafter-led Libyan National Army (LNA).
On 7 February, the NOC had reported that oil production had dropped from a high of 2.2 million barrels per day to 182,000 barrels per day resulting in losses to the Libyan state of over US$ 1billion.
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