Two of the three gas stations that were closed in protest against the arrest of the former finance minister have resumed operations.
Production in Libya Sharara and al-Fil oil fields will resume after being closed as part of the protest against the arrest of the former finance minister, according to officials.
The two facilities began to work on Saturday evening, making Sharara return to normal on Sunday morning after the release of Faraj Bumatari, who was the minister of finance, according to the Ministry of Oil in Libya and the tribes of ministers.
Bumatari, who was released on Saturday afternoon, was arrested by the Internal Security Agency when he arrived at Mitiga airport on Tuesday, making al-Fil, 108, and the Sharara gas station closed two days later in protest of his tribes.
108 gas stations remain closed.
Libya’s Oil Minister, Mohamed Aoun, told Dubai-based Asharq TV on Saturday that the closure of oil fields cost the country 340,000 barrels of oil production. He said Friday’s shutdown could lead to a more aggressive announcement.
Bumatari was targeted by the security agency for wanting to replace Sadiq al-Kabir as governor of the Central Bank of Libya, according to the leader of the Zawi Al-Senussi al-Ahlaiq tribe.
The security agency is cooperating with Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
Since 2011, Libya has been divided between two rival governments, each supported by different actors and militias in the country. Dbeibah is in the capital Tripoli, while the House of Representatives, which called for Bumatari’s release, is in eastern Tobruk.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) also expressed its concern over the seizure of the former minister and the closure of oil facilities. They welcomed his release and called for the release of “all those arrested arbitrarily including civilians, human rights activists, political officials and security personnel,” the service said.
UNSMIL welcomes the release of former finance minister Faraj Boumtari, who was arrested a few days ago. UNSMIL reiterates its call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained including civilians, human rights defenders, political officials and members of the security forces. pic.twitter.com/2SO7ROEIZh
– UNSMIL (@UNSMLibya) July 15, 2023
The Sharara oil field, in particular, is often overlooked, one of the largest in the country producing 290,000 barrels of oil per day.
The refinery is operated by the state-owned oil company National Oil Corporation through its subsidiary Acacus, along with Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, Austria’s OMV, and Norway’s Equinor.