(adds NOC statement on force majeure lifting)
BENGHAZI, Libya/LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) - Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has restarted the Sharara oilfield and lifted force majeure on loadings of its crude oil from the Zawiya terminal, it said on Monday.
The oilfield, the OPEC member’s largest, was shut on Friday evening after an unidentified group shut a valve on the pipeline linking it to Zawiya, 49 km (30.4 miles) west of Tripoli.
Valve 13 was reopened on Sunday evening, the NOC said, adding production resumed in the early hours of Monday.
The oilfield, which had a pre-civil war capacity of around 340,000 barrels per day (bpd), was pumping at a rate of 290,000 bpd before it was shut, the NOC said on Saturday.
A field engineer told Reuters on Monday production had already returned to around half of capacity.
NOC declared force majeure on Sharara crude shipments from Zawiya on Saturday.
“NOC extends its thanks to the technical staff and Petroleum Facilities Guard for their efforts to quickly reopen the pipeline,” the corporation said.
Libya’s overall oil production before the Sharara outage stood at 1.2-1.3 million bpd, NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla said earlier this month.
NOC operates Sharara in partnership with Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, Austria’s OMV and Norway’s Equinor. (Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli in Benghazi and Ahmad Ghaddar in London; Writing by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)