Libya's NOC demands armed group leave before reopening Sharara oilfield

Libya's NOC demands armed group leave before reopening Sharara oilfield
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LONDON (Reuters) - The head of Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) said the country's El Sharara oilfield will not be reopened until an armed group occupying it vacates.

"The armed group attempting to hold NOC, and Libya’s economic recovery to ransom, must leave the field before NOC will consider restarting production," chairman Mustafa Sanalla told a Chatham House conference in London on Tuesday.

The oilfield with a capacity to produce 340,000 barrels per day has been under force majeure since December.

General Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a campaign this month in southwestern Libya which it says is aimed at combating militant groups and securing oil facilities in the south, including the El Sharara oilfield.

"This situation has been complicated further by the launch of an international counter-terrorism mission which has expanded into an attempt to seize control of territory, including potentially, national oil infrastructure," Sanalla said, referring to the LNA campaign.

"It is my concern that a sequence of events has been set in motion with unknowable consequences for Libya, and NOC."

(Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar, editing by Louise Heavens)

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