Libya’s NOC to close Al-Wafaa oilfield over blackmail of armed groups

The building housing Libya’s oil state energy firm, the National Oil Corporation (NOC), is seen in Tripoli, Libya REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) announces that the Al Wafaa oil field airfield was blockaded on the morning of Wednesday, September 19th, in an attempt to blackmail Mellitah Oil and Gas Company into awarding an unwarranted catering contract. If the blockade continues, the company will be forced to suspend all operations in the Al-Wafaa field and evacuate all employees. A shutdown in the afternoon of September 20th will result in the cessation of gas supply from Al Wafaa to the Al Ruwais power plant.

The action is led by Khaled and Abdelhamid Al Wakwak and members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard in the south-west. An operational shutdown will affect citizens in the Western mountain area, and potentially result in power outages.

NOC condemn this irresponsible act that will only result in harm to the local economy and the livelihood of Libyan citizens. This act comes just days after the United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts Libya report, in which the acts and interests of predatory armed groups are deemed as running ‘counter to those of local communities and affect the normal functioning of the oil sector.’

NOC demands the immediate end to the blockade and the re-opening of the runway without precondition. NOC does not negotiate under duress, will only operate in the national interest, and will seek to prosecute criminal behaviour under local and international laws.

It should be noted that Al Wafaa field is operated by Mellitah Oil and Gas Company, producing approximately 40,000 bpd of crude oil, condensate, and 400 million cubic feet of natural gas –  dedicated entirely to power plants.

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