İrem UZUN -TDO- Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said Russian and other foreign mercenaries entered the Sharara oilfield, adding it completely rejects "attempts by foreign countries to prevent the resumption of oil production". On Friday, the NOC said the mercenaries entered Sharara in a convoy of vehicles and met with representatives of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), a force established to maintain security at the oilfields. "We do not need Russian and other foreign mercenaries in Libyan oilfields whose goal is to prevent oil production. Libya's oil is for the Libyan people, and I completely reject attempts by foreign countries to prevent the resumption of oil production," National Oil Corporation Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said.

The Sharara oil field, which lies about 900 kilometres south of Tripoli, has the capacity to produce 315,000 barrels per day - approximately one-third of the country’s crude oil output. However, it was shut down by Haftar’s forces in January, forcing a halt in production and costing the treasury more than $5.2bn, according to the NOC. Following the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) capture of the strategic city of Tarhouna and al-Watiya air base in early June, and the subsequent withdrawal of Haftar’s forces, the NOC announced that production at the Sharara oil field resumed.

Oilfields and export facilities are mostly located in territory controlled by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA). An international agreement says that oil can only be exported by the Tripoli-based NOC, with payments going to the Central Bank there. The LNA is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt and this month suddenly lost much of its territory around Tripoli and the northwest to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), backed by Turkey.

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