Mortar shells hit the headquarters of Akakus Oil Operations Company in Tripoli, Libya last week with attending firefighters targeted by gun fire.

According to Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), Akakus’ headquarters on the airport road in Tripoli suffered severe damage after mortar shells landed on the building on the evening of Wednesday 4 March.

The shells caused a fire on the upper floor of the building designated for the financial archives.

The National Safety Authority firefighting teams and the building's protecti on team responded to the fire and managed to control it.

However, as “these civilian firefighters worked they were targeted with heavy weapons,” said the state oil company.

Akakus is a joint venture between NOC, Spain's Repsol, Total of France, Norway's Equinor and OMV of Austria.

One of its key assets is the El Sharara oilfield in the Murzuq basin.

Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of NOC, said: “These criminal acts have reached another level by targeting Libyan firefighters. These men risk their lives to help people and preserve property. Fortunately, no-one was injured, and they managed to control the fire.”

He said that “targeting our employees or any civilian is something that can never be tolerated. We call on all local and international bodies to take serious steps to immediately stop the fighting. This will save the lives of our workers and protect oil facilities which are the property of the Libyan people.”

Libya’s oil production has been devastated by fighting in the country between UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in Tripoli and led by Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj, and renegade general Khalifa al Haftar whose forces launched an offensive to seize the capital from the GNA.

As of 4 March, production was running at about 120,000 barrels per day, compared to 1.22 million bpd on 18 January when force majeure was declared.

As a result, NOC said it has lost more than $2.7 billion in revenues since 17 January this year.

The corporation is “concerned” about a likely fuel shortage in the coming days because Zawiya refinery has shut down and lack of funds has limited the ability to import fuels.

Tripoli storage depots and some of the surrounding areas and Libya’s southern regions are suffering from a lack of supplies due to the deteriorating security conditions.

Tripoli itself is supplied with hydrocarbons directly from the Tripoli port.