In an effort to resolve the crisis at the Sharara oil field, which remains closed, National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman, Eng. Mustafa Sanalla has stressed that the corporation is working hard to find a common solution and create appropriate security conditions to guarantee worker safety at the field.
“NOC needs real solutions to oil sector problems, not quick temporary fixes that will only encourage further blockades and endanger the lives of NOC staff. We also need an approach that identifies and aims to tackle the critical problems of the South,” said Sanalla. “New budget funds should be allocated to raise human development indicators, providing health services to prevent infant mortality due to prevalent diseases, address scorpion antivenin and water shortages, improve access to education, as well as help develop local economic opportunities.”
The chairman added that NOC is fully prepared to support the government, the entity responsible for development programs in the South, and to play its role in generating the revenues necessary to finance such initiatives across the country.
“NOC fully supports the South, our employees from local communities, and all other law-abiding citizens that want, and deserve, the most basic services, levels of opportunity and economic justice. Any agreement must raise living standards of the people of the South but not reward those that seek through violence to achieve their own personal aims. This will take Libya down a precarious path,” added the chairman.
Sanalla warned of the catastrophic consequences for both the oil sector and country of ransom payments to the armed group occupying the Sharara oil field, adding that because of the violent threats made by the armed group, and their implication in other criminal activity, force majeure would not be lifted at the field until alternative security arrangements were in place.
“We cannot put our workers in a position where they are vulnerable in future to further use of violence by these people,” Sanalla said.
NOC welcomes the international community's condemnation of the forced shutdown of Sharara, including calls by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and the United States State Department that the “nation’s wealth must not be used for bargaining” and for the "immediate and unconditional withdrawal of armed elements in the area.”