October 14, 2018 / 2:09 PM / 2 years ago

Libya may suspend Zawiya refinery unless security improves

TRIPOLI, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Libya’s state oil firm NOC warned on Sunday it would have to suspend operations at its 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) Zawiya refinery unless security improved after two recent attacks.

The refinery west of the capital Tripoli supplies western and southern Libya with fuel. Its port also exports crude from the southern El Sharara oilfield.

Gunmen attacked the site on Wednesday, trying to break into the oil mixing operation and stealing a company car, NOC said in a statement.

The previous week unidentified people assaulted staff, kidnapping one employee who later was released and stealing cars as well as personal things from workers.

“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,” NOC said in the statement.

Libya is currently producing 1 million bpd of oil on average and plans to increase output, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah said on Wednesday.

Protests, blockages by armed groups or staff and outbreaks of violence have frequently interrupted production in Libya.

Current production levels remain below the OPEC member’s pre-civil war pumping rate of around 1.6 million bpd, but are at their highest since mid-2013, according to Reuters estimates. (Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Potter)

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