Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) has shuttered its Zawiya refinery on February 8, triggering a shutdown at the Sharara field.
The company said this decision stemmed from a valve closure in the Hamada region, on the main pipeline between the 290,000 barrel per day oilfield and the refinery.
“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’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla.
The long-suffering NOC head said political interference in Libya’s oil and gas sector would 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.”
The refinery shutdown will cause further problems for the NOC’s efforts to manage the distribution of fuel. It will also have “very significant costs” for the government to cover the cost of importing fuel to replace lost output.
Output from the Zawiya facility is around 4,000 tonnes per day of diesel, 1,600 tonnes of gasoline, 4,000 tonnes per day of fuel oil, 200 tonnes of LPG and 3,000 tonnes of jet.
While NOC is struggling to oversee its hydrocarbon responsibilities, it also said it had restored water deliveries – via the Great Man-Made River – in the Zueitina region. The company’s Department of Sustainable Development carried out the work last week, while also installing electrical equipment for the power grid.
The town of Zueitina is in northeast Libya, between Marsa al-Brega and Benghazi. It has an export terminal that was shut down in January, as part of the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) offensive.