* Foreign oil firms still wary of security after 2011 war
* Libya has 15,000-strong oil protection force
* Clashes at Libyan gas complex, other oilfields last month
TRIPOLI, April 10 Libya will not allow any
foreign security presence at its oilfields, the head of the
state energy firm, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said, even
though many international firms active in the country are still
wary about post-war violence.
Some 18 months after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in the
2011 war, Libya's new rulers have struggled to impose their
authority on a country awash with weapons and where militias
often have more power on the ground than state security forces.
In a statement posted on its website, the NOC quoted its
chairman, Nuri Berruein, as saying Libya "will not allow foreign
security presence of any form at oil installations."
It said Berruien made the comments during a meeting with a
delegation from BP in Tripoli on Monday to discuss
security at the company's oil sites in Libya.
BP said in late January it was reconsidering plans to drill
for oil in Libya due to heightened security fears following an
attack by Islamist militants on the In Amenas gas plant in
neighbouring Algeria earlier that month.
BP was due to resume exploratory drilling in western Libya
that was suspended during the 2011 war. The NOC quoted BP
security official Derek Porter as saying another delegation
would travel to Libya next week for more talks on security.
Following the In Amenas attack, OPEC member Libya said it
had strengthened its oil protection force in southwestern
oilfields near the Algerian border.
Since the end of the war, it has set up the 15,000-strong
Petroleum Facilities Guard to secure installations, made up
mainly of former rebel fighters but they have at times fought
Last month violence erupted between rival factions of the
force over who should control security at two eastern oilfields.
This came after armed clashes at the Mellitah gas complex, a
joint venture between the NOC and Italy's Eni, halted
Libyan gas exports to Italy for several days.
Foreign oil firms were the first to return to Libya after
the 2011 conflict, helping the North African country return
close to pre-war output levels of around 1.6 million barrels per
day. But production has at times fallen due to disruptions
caused by protests. It now stands at 1.55 million
However, oil services firms which Libya needs as it seeks to
increase output, have been slow to come back.
The NOC statement quoted Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi as
saying: "The security situation continues to improve, despite
being amplified by the media."
(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers and Marie-Louise
Gumuchian in Tripoli; writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing
by James Jukwey)