Tripoli, 3 March 2013:
Eni’s (Greenstream) Mellitah Gas Complex, a joint venture with Libya’s National Oil Cooperation (NOC), has reopened today after being forced to shut down yesterday due to armed clashes by militias guarding it, LANA reports.
It was announced this morning that the Libyan Army had temporarily taken over the task of guarding and securing the gas pumping complex in Mellitah, about 60 km west of Tripoli. The task of guarding the complex will be handed over to the specialized Oil Installations Department.
Khalid Sharif, Deputy Defence Minister, confirmed today that work had resumed at the gas compression and pumping plant and that traffic flow on the main coastal road from Tripoli to Tunisia had returned to normal.
The gas complex was closed down for safety reasons due to a clash between two militia groups over who should be guarding the complex. There are unconfirmed reports that two employees in Mellitah were injured by stray gunfire.
The gunfire caused fears that it could lead to an explosion, forcing the operators to shut down. It was also reported that the giant Elephant field (Al-Feel) was also going to be shut down due to the fact that the Mellitah plant was no longer able to receive any of its production.
This would have had a huge effect on Libya’s production and hydrocarbon revenue as the Elephant field is one of the largest producers at around 100,000 barrels per day.
Late last night a meeting was held in the area between the clashing militias, city councils, tribal elders and local members of the GNC and it was agreed that both parties would withdraw and the Libyan army move in.