Eastern Libyan military forces have full control of Libya’s biggest oilfield, El Sharara, a spokesman said, in a challenge to the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
There was no immediate confirmation or comment from state oil firm NOC which operates with foreign partners the 315,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) field deep in Libya’s southern desert.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) based in eastern Libya began an offensive in the south last month to fight militants and secure oilfields.
Last Wednesday, the LNA reached a remote pumping station of El Sharara, but had until now not moved on the main field, which a force of state guards and tribesmen seized in December demanding funds. Production stopped then.
“Peacefully with no resistance LNA has full control over Sharara oilfield with all its facilities,” the LNA spokesman said on Twitter, adding the facility was being secured.
Pictures posted online showed jubilant soldiers standing in front of an El Sharara signpost. Reuters was unable to reach workers at the field for further information.
Hours earlier, the LNA’s chief of staff, Abdel-Razeq Nathouri, told Reuters the soldiers were negotiating access to the field.