Reuters reports that the National Oil Corporation (NOC), Libya’s state oil firm revealed it would be forced to suspend activities at its 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) Zawiya refinery unless security improves. The refinery, which is west of the capital Tripoli, suffered two recent attacks.
Zawiya refinery supplies western and southern Libya with fuel. The refinery’s port also exports crude from the southern El Sharara oilfield.
A statement released by NOC said the gunmen who attacked the site, tried to break into the oil mixing operation and stole the company’s car. The previous week, unidentified assailants assaulted staff and kidnapped an employee who was later released. The assailants however stole cars and personal things that belonged to the workers.
The NOC said “the NOC board warned that any continuation or failure to address this situation, to ensure staff and site protection and increase security, will affect ongoing operations and result in their suspension”.
Mustafa Sanallah, NOC Chairman said Libya is currently producing 1 million bpd of oil on average and plans to increase output. Protests, blockages by armed groups or staff and outbreaks of violence have frequently interrupted production in Libya.
According to Reuters estimates, current production level remain below the OPEC country’s pre-civil war pumping rate of around 1.6 million bpd. However, the oil output in Libya is at its highest since mid-2013.