Libya welcomes opening of blockaded oil ports (Reuters)

3 August 2016

Libya’s state oil company said yesterday 
it welcomed the “unconditional”
reopening of blockaded oil
ports following a deal between the
UN-backed government and an
armed force which controls key
facilities, saying it would begin
work to restart exports from
the terminals.
The agreement, signed on Thursday,
could be a major step in reviving
Libya’s crippled oil output.
It had been questioned by
National Oil Corporation (NOC)
Chairman Mustafa Sanalla, who
had warned against rewarding
groups that shut down production
and complained that the NOC
lacked funds for its own operating
In a statement sent to journalists
yesterday, the NOC said the UNbacked
Government of National
Accord (GNA) had released money
that would allow it to increase production
by 150,000 barrels per day
(bpd) within two weeks.
The NOC said it aims to gradually
increase output to 900,000 bpd by
the end of the year.
Political disputes, conflict and
security threats have slashed Libya’s
oil production to less than a quarter
of the 1.6 million barrels per day the
Opec member was producing in
2011, before the uprising that toppled
Muammar Gaddafi and sent
the country into political turmoil.
Any recovery in production is
expected to be gradual because of
extensive damage to infrastructure,
and continuing instability. Details
of the deal between the GNA and
the Petroleum Facilities Guard
(PFG) to reopen the eastern ports
of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and
Zueitina, have not been made
public, but the GNA said they
included an unspecified amount
for PFG salaries.
Yesterday’s statement from the
NOC said Mousa Alkouni, a member
of the GNA’s leadership or
Presidential Council, had assured
Mr Sanalla that the ports would be
reopened “without conditions”.
“I am pleased the Presidential
Council agrees that we cannot
reward individuals who hold Libya’s
oil hostage,” Mr Sanalla said.
“There can be no backroom
deals if we are to build trust. Any
past salary payments to the Petroleum
Facilities Guards need to be
transparent, properly authorised
and documented.”
He said the NOC would begin
working with the Presidential
Council and Libya’s eastern
parliament so that exports from
the blockaded ports could
“The NOC will immediately
start technical works, and open
discussions with our international
oil company partners to indemnify
the NOC from liability. We
need the tribes in the oil producing
areas to join our commitment
to let Libya’s oil flow freely.”
Mr Sanalla also called on groups
preventing oil production elsewhere
in Libya to let it resume,
including some 470,000 bpd shut in
from the Elephant and Sharara
fields in the southwest.
“There are costs for them, too.
Shortages of electricity, fuel, food
and medicines in their regions are
the direct result of their blockades,”
he said. After arriving in Tripoli in
March, the GNA has been gradually
trying to establish its authority and
unify factions that set up rival
parliaments and governments in
Tripoli and eastern Libya in 2014.
But hardliners in the east have
sought to export oil independently
through a rival NOC in Benghazi.
“Our threat level
has been at ‘severe’
for two years – it
means an attack is
highly likely”.
Workers conduct maintenance work on oil
pipelines at the Zueitina oil terminal in
Zueitina, west of Benghazi. (Reuters)

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3 اغسطس 2016

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