April 11 (UPI) -- The closure of one of the largest oil fields in Libya means a loss of about $9.8 million and the outage of huge volumes of oil, a national oil company said.
Libya's National Oil Corp. confirmed its Sharara oil field was shut down because of attacks by militants on regional pipeline infrastructure. The field has operated in fits and starts as Libya tries to push the momentum on the national security front toward the side of peace and emerged from a previous closure just one week ago.
The NOC said in a statement the closure resulted in the loss of "immense" volumes of oil and natural gas designated for exports across the Algerian border. The loss from the shutdown was estimated by the NOC at around $9.8 million per day.
"When production is resumed, we will face many technical problems to return production from the closed wells, which will cost huge amounts of money," the company stated.
Assuming peak capacity, the NOC said the loss from the field could be about 10,400 barrels of oil per day. Libya is exempt from a production ceiling established by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the NOC said its output could increase by 100,000 bpd by the end of April to 800,000 bpd. The company set a goal of reaching 1.1 million barrels per day, a level consistent with pre-conflict output.
The assessment from the Libyan company follows a visit by NOC representatives to Vienna to discuss future cooperation with Austrian energy company OMV. In statements sent to UPI, Rainer Seele, the CEO of OMV, said Libya is an "ideal" fit for his company, which counts onshore and maturing basins like those in Libya as within its area of expertise.
Libya holds, by OMV's estimate, around 47 billion barrels of oil.