TRIPOLI, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Libya's oil production has fallen to 230,000 barrels a day due to the closure of the El Sharara field following protests, state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Sunday.
NOC closed on Thursday the 340,000 bpd El Sharara field located in the remote south due to protests and clashes in the area. It was been repeatedly shut down by protesters as a way to pressure the weak central government into political and financial demands.
"Production today is 230,000 bpd," NOC spokesman Mohammed El Harari said, without giving a breakdown of oilfields.
Restoring El Sharara to full production at the start of the year had been a victory for Prime Minister Ali Zeidan as he struggled to end another protest that blockaded three eastern oil terminals since August.
Three years after the revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's oil infrastructure is often targeted by protests, shutdowns and strikes by brigades of former rebels who refuse to disarm or recognize the state's authority.
The shutdowns have hit the national budget hard as oil and gas are the only source of income and a major source for hard currency needed to fund essential food imports.
Production stood at around 1.4 million bpd until the middle of 2013 when the protests began to break out at the country's major ports in the east. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Louise Heavens)