Libya’s El Sharara oilfield will remain closed until armed groups have left the site, the head of state oil company NOC said on Thursday as a stalemate over the country’s biggest field continued.
The field deep in Libya’s southern desert can produce 315,000 barrels per day (bpd) but has been closed since state guards and tribesmen seized it in December to make financial demands.
“NOC is technically ready to lift the state of force majeure at Sharara, but the issue that remains is security,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a video message.
He called on the Libyan National Army, which said it had regained control of El Sharara this month, to ensure armed groups have been removed.
Sanalla said the union of oil workers had told NOC in a letter that staff al El Sharara did not feel safe because of the presence of armed groups.
The Tripoli-based government said on Tuesday that it had agreed with NOC on steps to lift force majeure and a security plan to remove civilians who had helped to seize the field.
There has been no sign of any implementation so far.
Eastern military forces, the Libyan National Army, which took control of El Sharara this month, have called on NOC to reopen the field.