The Mediterranean port of Es Sider, the largest oil depot in Libya. The blast occurred near Marada, on the pipeline belonging to the Waha oil company, the source told Reuters.
The port is now controlled by the powerbroker General Hafter’s forces. Later reports said that oil had been re-routed and less than 100,000 barrels a day in exports will be lost for about a week. Nevertheless oil prices in the US hit a new high on the news. a twitter photo of the export pipeline 26 Dec 17
”A military source told RIA Novosti that the “large” explosion at the pipeline was the result of a terrorist attack“The fighters belonged to either (al-Qaeda-affiliated) Benghazi Defense Brigades or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) as they are terrorists who carry out diversions to cripple oil production facilities.” Russia Today Report
The news of the Libyan blast saw oil prices spike to above $65 a barrel on Tuesday, Reuters reported.”In March ’17 … Es Sidar was recaptured by forces loyal to Libya’s eastern-based military commander, Khalifa Haftar, and resumed operations”.
Repsol still looting Libya… Profits Soar while local Tuareg and Tebu go Hungry
The explosion will not however disrupt exports from the Sharara oilfield where Spanish company Repsol has the biggest 60% stake. Sharara now exports nearly 300.000 barrels of oil a day, making enormous profits for Repsol.
Chief Executive Officer – Josu Jon Imaz boasted that its ‘upstream’ profits soared by $69 million when the pipeline from Sharara to the port came back online after protest Blockades in the second quarter of 2016. (source Repsol).
Repsol’s local company has contributed nothing that we know of to alleviate the extreme suffering of the impoverished local people suffering racist discrimination in the Ubari area next to the oilfield. Instead it is concentrating on trying to boost its profits by pumping out Libyan oil even faster, aiming for 330,000 barrels a day in the near future .
Repsol is joint operator with both the National Oil Corporation (NOC), France’s ‘imperialist’ Total, and Austria’s OMV which also have stakes in what is currently Libya’s biggest oilfield.The Sharara oilfield is situated in the middle of what was once Lake Megafezzan, once bigger than the UK, which is now dried up, it may not rain for 5 years in the area. . All that is left are a dozen small salt lakes near Ubari fed from the extensive Sahara aquifer beneath, which may be already damaged or in imminent danger from Repsol’s oil extraction. The Tuareg eat the red shrimps which thrive in the ultra salty water.
The Sharara pipeline exits through Zawyra near Tripoli, and the oil is mostly unrefined due to limited capacity. There are few benefits for local people who have repeatedly blocked the pipeline in protest, the last time in Oct 2017.
Right beside the Sharara field stand the ruins of the town of Ubari where a dispute grew into a proxy civil war in 2015 which pitted the oppressed Tuareg and the Tebu (or Tubu) tribes against each other and is still smouldering among the armed and unemployed youth.Ruins of Ubari town, next to the Sharara oil bonanza of Repsol which is pumping out the riches of the country.
The Tuareg are shunned and impoverished for having been pro Gadaffi, the Tebu have done a bit better but both are considered non Arabic or black. Both have been denied Libyan citizenship and condemned to unemployment or menial tasks and non existent public facilities.
The Sharara oilfields are situated mostly in the traditional Tuareg area in the 150 year old peace agreements and they resented the expansion in Ubari of the Tebu minority, who had grown stronger after taking control of some border smuggling after Gaddafi’s fall.
The immense Sharara oilfield. Methane gas is burned off, wasting a non renewable resource for quicker profits. No thought is given to the mounting global climate emergency with Repsol boasting of its increased extraction and local people complaining that they have received nothing.
The Tuareg halt extraction demanding work
On 1 October 2017: the then production of 234,000 barrels per day, around a quarter of Libya’s total output, was still halted yet again by the men paid to guard the field. They were complaining again about unpaid wages by the openly racist management.
After talks with Tuareg and Tebu elders, production at Libya’s biggest field was finally resumed. Libya Herald
The latest shutdown was forced by armed members of a Tuareg militia calling itself the 30 Brigade who have no work and want to be included into the Petroleum Facilities Guard. They have also been demanding compensation for the way they have protected the Sharara field since 2014 and want vehicles and fuel.
Foreign staff of Repsol’s production company at the base (about 15 people) are flown in and out every time the oilfield is shut down by the blockades or fighting.
The Tebu tribes are also still not recognised as Libyan citizens despite living there for millenia and some may have been kidnapped and sold as slaves. In nearby Sebha migrants from the south arrive and are often bought, sold or forced into prostitution.
Tuareg fighters in Ubari next to the Sharara oilfield (note ..these guys are looking for guard work and have nothing to do with the explosion at the other pipeline 500 kms away.)
”Oil blockades are crimes” says NOC’s head Mustafa Sanalla
(Filephoto from Libya Herald .. shared with thanks) He was speaking after the latest interruption to supplies from the giant Sharara oilfield.
Libyan state oil firm confirms “security breach” at El Sharara oilfield….. November 6, 2017
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libya’s state oil company said on Monday there had been a “security breach” at its southern El Sharara oilfield on Sunday night. An engineer at the field said unknown people had attacked the station and stolen company cars and phones from employees. The El Sharara field lies deep in Libya’s south that is gripped by insecurity. It has closed several times due to protests by security guards asking for salaries or other groups, part of turmoil in the North African country since 2011.
Akakus Oil Operations
Repsol’s subsidiary in Sharara is called Akakus Oil Operations (formerly Repsol Oil Operation) which has a luxury air conditioned center near the wrecked Tuareg city of Ubari which has little water or electricity and daytime temperatures up to 50 C
- An accommodation complex (Central Complex), complete with all necessary amenities including a restaurant, Stores and Entertainment Facility has been constructed along with an office building and main control room.
- Both National Concessions (NC-115 and NC-186) are located near the city of Ubari, The required surface facilities, which preliminarily included the main Gas Oil Separation Plant (GOSP “A”), has been constructed in NC-115 followed by the construction of GOSP “B” and “H”. A complete Power Generation Plant and a Gas Compression Plant have been constructed as well.
Water Requirements and Contamination. Lack of info may conceal a Crime.
Repsol have not admitted to contaminating the Sahara aquifer which comes near the surface in this area of the great Murkat Desert which was once a gigantic lake. Indeed 15 small and very salty lakes still break the surface in low lying places near Ubari city.
In principle the aquifer need not be contaminated if the oil rises on its own pressure, but oil drilling is plagued with accidents and mishaps.
Also often hot steam or CO2 is pumped in from another location to make the oil more liquid and force it up the well pipe .. or possibly into the surrounding irreplaceable aquifer. In addition drilling liquid ‘mud’ is used in large quantities and nowadays is often mixed with toxic chemicals.
Big amounts of water are necessary for the drilling liquid, the accomodation and office complex, and the generation and compression plants which may be pumped from the aquifer.
If so Repsol may be lowering the water table and forcing local people to dig deeper and deeper wells, undermining the date palms, as well as possibly threatening the unique salt lakes which are fed from underground springs.
It is hardly sufficient for Repsol to claim ‘green’ credentials in its annual report. All these questions need to be adequately answered by totally independent experts, paid for by Repsol which is ‘looting’ hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from this extraction.
Haftar’s LNA forces finally occupied the oil ports with barely a shot fired. Then, , after successfully routing a counter-attack, the LNA extended its territorial control further to the southwest. Haftar had negotiated mutually beneficial deals with the local tribes that ultimately allowed his force to seize and reopen the ports. The Zintanti Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) unit based in al-Rayayna in the Nafusa mountains lifted its two-year blockade on the pipeline running from southern oil fields of Sharara and Feel to the Zawiyya refinery. This allowed up to 600,000 barrels per day of crude to flow, including the biggest oilfield run by Repsol and the NOC at Sharara.
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