By Sami Zaptia.
London, 11 June 2020:
Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed yesterday that its El-Feel oilfield has been forcibly shutdown again by militias – only days after it was reopened.
The events at El-Feel mirror those that had occurred earlier at the Sharara oilfield.
The NOC reported that commander of the “Khalid bin al-Walid Battalion”, Yousif Hassan al-Tabawi, coerced workers at El Feel oilfield to stop production at the again, only a few days after the Hamada valve was reopened.
It said that it considered this is a serious criminal act against the Libyan people and its interests and that it demonstrates again the failure of the state-employed and paid security force, the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), to carry out their legal duties of protecting the oil sector’s facilities and workers.
The NOC said that ‘‘the PFG has become like a militia that carries out orders of illegitimate leaders in order to serve foreign interests’’. A reference believed to be to Khalifa Hafter and his foreign backers such as the UAE.
The NOC again warned that it will prosecute criminals and take all legal procedures against them. ‘‘Whoever works to destroy the economy and the future of the country must pay the price of their crimes’’, it added.
Irrespective of their validity, the continued forced closures of oilfields by Libya’s disparate groups across the country’s large expanse since the toppling of Qaddafi in 2011, underscore the difficulty for any new central Libyan authority in imposing its will by force across all regions – without dealing with perceived / purported local grievances. They also underscore the continued weakness of the Libyan state’s legitimacy, institutions and security apparatus.
In many areas outside Tripoli and the coastal regions, many Libyans feel the country’s oil wealth is not distributed equally – with much of it corruptly siphoned away in the capital. These sometimes valid grievances are often exploited for political gain by unscrupulous parties .
Sharara field reopens and is shut down again within hours by a different militia: NOC
A day after UNSMIL welcomed the reopening of two Libyan oilfields, and called for the reopening of all its oilfields – NOC announces Sharara field is closed again