An oil rig is shown in this file photo.

JOHANNESBURG – Protesters in Libya have shut down the El Feel oilfield in south-western Libya, only a day after also closing the Sharara oilfield in Ubari, resulting in a dramatic reduction in oil production.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) warned that the forced closure of Sharara oilfield would result in a production loss of 315,000 barrels per day, with a knock-on effect of 73,000 barrels at El Feel due to its dependence on Sharara electricity supply, the Libya Observer reported.

The protest action by the Fezzan Rage Movement was in response to what it claimed was government inaction to their demands that steps be taken to counter the insecurity and growing crime, including smuggling, in the area.

The group released a statement explaining that the deteriorating conditions in the south had led to people being forced to purchase fuel and gas on the black market at exorbitant prices.

Renewing their calls to the government, the protesters demanded the authorities beef up their military and security presence in the southern region. This would address security problems as well as secure residents’ properties. 

They also called for support for the health sector by employing more medics and purchasing additional medical equipment.

While apologising to Libyans for their extreme protest action they simultaneously warned that the oil fields would remain inoperative until their demands were met.

The NOC, meanwhile, vowed to take legal action against the parties involved in “this heinous act.”

Libya’s ongoing political turmoil and insecurity have led to an overall reduction in oil production - with oil terminals the frequent target of rampaging militias - the main source of foreign revenue for the North African country.

- African News Agency (ANA)