|A general view of the El Sharara oilfield, Libya December 3, 2014.|
Photo by Ismail Zitouny
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's Sharara oilfield, which has been producing 270,000 barrels a day (bpd), is gradually shutting down after the closure of a control room in the northern city of Zawiya, an engineer at the field said late on Sunday.
The engineer did not give details of why the control room had closed but posts by oil workers on Facebook said it had been stormed by an armed group.
Libya has been exempted from an OPEC-led push to cut global production and bolster oil prices and the recovery of the North African country's output over the past year has complicated the bloc's efforts to curb global supply.
A Libyan oil source, who confirmed Sharara was being shut down, said supplies of gasoline and jet fuel from Zawiya, which is home to an export terminal and a refinery, had also been halted.
There was no immediate comment from the National Oil Corporation (NOC) which operates Sharara in a partnership with Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil.
Because of the closure of the control room, oil in pipes leading from Sharara to Zawiya will be returned to the field and production will be shut down gradually as empty storage tanks fill up, the engineer said.
Sharara is Libya's largest field, accounting for about a quarter of the country's production.
The reopening of the field in December after being shut for two years has been key to a revival in Libya's oil production, which climbed to more than one million bpd in late June from just over 200,000 bpd a year ago.
Since June, however, Sharara has suffered several brief closures due to pipeline blockades by armed groups and a protest by workers at the field.
Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli and Ahmad Ghaddar; writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Diane Craft and David Clarke