Protestors shut down Sharara oil field
On 8 December, protestors shut down the Sharara oil field with support from the local Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG), the 30 Infantry Battalion, securing the facilities. On 9 December, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) officially declared force majeure on Sharara oil field, with al-Feel also closed due its dependence on the Sharara power supply. The NOC has demanded the unconditional withdrawal of the PFG unit, which has entered the field, and states it will not negotiate with this militia.
According to the NOC, the shutdown of Sharara will result in a daily site production loss of 315,000 bpd, with an additional loss of 73,000 barrels at El Feel due to its dependence on Sharara for electricity supply. Production at the Zawiyya refinery is also at risk due to its dependence on crude oil supply from Sharara and will cease producing essential fuels for local consumption unless alternative supply is identified.
The NOC has named and shamed the main militia leaders involved in the shutdown, accusing them of neglecting their responsibilities and covering up criminal behaviour. The statement called for local leaders and authorities to help return security to the site, and stressed that this shutdown will further harm southern communities rather than improving their situation. Given this stance, it is likely that the NOC will pursue punitive measures such as prosecuting the militia leaders or trying to put them on a UN sanction list. This may pressure the group into leaving the site in the coming days. However, much will depend on whether or not the local communities view the militia’s actions as a legitimate response to the dire socio-economic situation in the South. If the shutdown is seen locally as legitimate, then this could lead to a prolonged blockade.