Foreign workers at Libya’s Sharara oilfield evacuated for fear of hostilities

A general view shows an oil refinery in Zawia, 55km west of Tripoli December 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny (LIBYA)

Foreign workers at Libya’s Sharara oil field, which is currently shut, have been temporarily evacuated because of unspecified information about activity nearby, an engineer at the field said on Monday, Reuters reported.

Sixteen workers from countries including Spain, France, the Philippines and Serbia had been evacuated and were expected to return on Wednesday, he said, according to Reuters.

Local media reports mentioned the presence of an armed group near the field. There was no comment from the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which runs the field in partnership with oil companies Repsol, Total, Statoil and OMV, added Reuters.

Sharara, Libya’s biggest field, was producing more than 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) before it was forced to close after an armed group shut a valve at Rayayna, near the western town of Zintan, on Aug. 19.

Sharara has faced a series of shutdowns or partial shutdowns because of armed group activity between the south western field and the port of Zawiya on Libya’s coast, where Sharara crude is exported.

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