Last updated: 3 March, 2013

Clash halts Libyan gas delivery to Italy

The delivery of Libyan gas to Italy via the Greenstream pipeline was halted on Sunday after a gunfight between former rebels near a gas complex in the west of the country, an official said.

“The site was evacuated as a security measure after an exchange of fire between former rebels near the complex” on Saturday, Abdelfattah Sharkan, president of the board of Millitah Oil and Gas which operates the complex, told AFP.

Millitah Oil and Gas is a joint venture between Italy’s ENI and Libya’s National Oil Company. The Greenstream pipeline runs from Millitah in Libya to Gela in Sicily.

“We are waiting for the ministry of defence to secure the site,” Sharkan said, adding that deliveries could resume later Sunday or on Monday.

The ministry said it was awaiting the result of mediation between the armed groups before it restores order by force.

Army chief of staff Yussef al-Mangush later told a news conference that a military force was preparing to enter the site.

Omar Shakmak, the deputy oil minister, said the fighting had been between two groups of former rebels, from the western Libyan towns of Zintan and Zwara, who had been charged with maintaining security at the complex.

Shakmak said one person was killed and several were wounded, but he did not say why the clashes happened.

He said the disruption to the plant’s operations would cost the state many millions of dollars, as daily production there amounted to 17 million cubic metres of gas and 13,000 barrels of crude oil, in addition to derivatives.