July 25, 2018 / 12:01 PM / 3 months ago

Control station at Libya's El Sharara oilfield back on, output unclear

BENGHAZI, Libya, July 25 (Reuters) - A control station at Libya’s giant Sharara oilfield has resumed operation but foreign engineers who help operate the field have not returned yet due to security reasons, a field engineer said on Wednesday.

Station 186 was shut down after two oilfield staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group more than a week ago, forcing Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) to cut output.

There was no current production figure available but the engineer said with the station coming back output would rise again.

State-run NOC had previously said it expected output to drop by 160,000 barrels per day (bpd), although one engineer had said then output at the field, which had been producing 200,000-300,000 bpd recently, had already dropped to below 100,000 bpd.

The attack happened at the control station on the outskirts of Sharara, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) away from the main part of the field.

Tripoli-based NOC operates Sharara in partnership with Repsol, Total, OMV and Equinor , formerly known as Statoil.

The field, in Libya’s remote southwest, has suffered security problems in the past, including raids in which vehicles and mobile phones were stolen.

In addition to being one of Libya’s main export grades, Sharara feeds the 120,000 bpd Zawiya oil refinery on the country’s northwest coast. (Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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