Libya's state-owned National Oil Company (NOC) has expressed its concern over the presence of armed groups believed to be Russian private military contractors (PMCs) and foreign mercenaries in the El Sharara oilfield (Wadi Al-Hayaa district) after they entered the oilfield on Thursday, June 25. The armed groups reportedly met with representatives of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) militia and are suspected to be attempting to prevent the resumption of oil production after a months-long blockade by eastern-based forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar.
A heightened security presence is expected in the area over a near term and clashes between rival forces are possible.
During the protracted conflict between Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), most of Libya's oilfields have been either under threat by or under the direct control of the LNA, which has severely restricted oil production. Since the Russian-backed LNA's withdrawal from Tripoli in early June 2020, some oilfields have stepped up efforts to resume oil production.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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