The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed Monday that it was forced to shut down Al-Zawiya Refinery on Saturday as a result of a valve closure in the Hamada region, on the main pipeline between Sharara field and Al-Zawiya Refinery, halting production at the field.

The NOC said in a statement on Facebook that Al-Zawiya Refinery's shutdown will exacerbate the problem of managing, importing and distributing fuel and will lead to very significant costs to the Libyan treasury to import additional fuel to replace the refinery’s production.

NOC's Chairman Mustafa Sanallah said the illegal oil blockade is creating an unprecedented challenge for NOC to continue the supply of fuel to the Libyan people and the country’s vital facilities, such as power stations”.

He added that the political interference in the Libyan oil and gas sector will have devastating short-term and long-term effects on the Libyan economy and the Libyan people.

"This is developing into a true national crisis. Immediate action is needed to end this irresponsible blockade". Sanallah explained.

Al-Zawiya Refinery produces monthly some 120.000 metric tons of diesel, 49.000 metric tons of gasoline, 120.000 metric tons of fuel oil, 6000 metric tons of liquid petroleum gas and 90.000 metric tons of jet fuel.

Al-Zawiya Refinery said earlier it had to halt operations due to the shortage of crude reserves, adding that two units - each has a capacity of 60.000 barrels - stopped working.