By Jamal Adel.
Tunis, 14 February 2015:
Oil production at the Sarir oilfield, Libya’s largest, has stopped following a blast on the pipeline . . .[restrict]linking it and the oilfield at Messla to the Hariga oil terminal at Tobruk.
Initial reports claimed that the blast, which occurred around dawn at pumping station 82, some 130 kilometres north of Sarir, was caused by a bomb exploded by Islamic State forces. The explosion caused a fire which has now been extinguished.
Petroleum Facilities Guards in the area, however, are uncertain about the claims, suggesting that the blast could equally have been an accident. Although not ruling out sabotage, they told the Libya Herald that the pipeline was far from IS current activity and was heavily guarded both by Tobruk PFG and the Tebu PFG based at Sarir.
Nonetheless, security is being further stepped up along the pipeline.
The Hariga terminal reopened just three days ago after a four-day strike by PFG members over delayed salary payments. This latest disruption, however, is not expected to cause serious problems. Despite two tankers at the terminals and six others expected in the next four days, storage tanks are believed to be full and the National Oil Corporation says it expects it will take two to three days to repair the damage.
Both Sarir and Messla are operated by AGOCO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NOC. [/restrict]