By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli and Benghazi, 2 October 2017:
National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief Mustafa Sanalla is proposing that blockading any oil production should be made a criminal offence.
He was speaking after the latest interruption to supplies from the giant Sharara oilfield. On Sunday night, production of 234,000 barrels per day, around a quarter of Libya’s total output, was brought to a halt by the men paid to guard the field. They were allegedly complaining about wages.
After talks with Tuareg and Tebu elders, production at Libya’s biggest field is supposed to resume tomorrow morning.
Sanalla told journalists this evening at NOC’s Tripoli headquarters that the guards had been protesting at unpaid salaries. In fact it appears the problem was not quite so straightforward. The shutdown was forced by armed members of a militia calling itself the 30 Brigade which wants to be included on the strength of the Petroleum Facilities Guard. It has also been demanding compensation for the way it says it has protected the Sharara field since 2014 and wants vehicles and fuel.
There was some annoyance among Tripoli-based journalists this evening that Sanalla chose to first tell the Jordan-based TV station Libya HD that the stoppage at field was at an end. Reporters had gone to the press conference assuming the blockade was still on. However before Sanalla spoke they were receiving calls from their news desks telling them of the NOC chief’s “exclusive” TV interview.
Sanalla also said this evening that he would be pressing for a national convention that would agree to criminalise any interference with oil production from the field, through the pipes to the export terminals.