Tripoli, 15 August:
The National Oil Company (NOC) is refusing to confirm reports that the Ras Lanuf oil refinery will resume operations . . .[restrict]at the end of this month, casting doubt on the certainty of the claims.
Yesterday, an unnamed senior NOC official was quoted by Reuters as saying that the refinery would be restarted no-later than 28 August.
“I cannot confirm or deny anything because I have no information about this”, a NOC spokesman told the Libya Herald this afternoon.
Repeated announcements have been made regarding the reopening of the refinery at Ras Lanuf, dating back as far as last December, only to be rescinded subsequently.
It is understood that delays have not been the result of technical deficiencies at Ras Lanuf but rather disputes between the NOC and its UAE-based partner, Trasta Energy, who jointly operate the plant.
However, this latest announcement appears to have been given added credibility by concrete preparations now said to be taking place at the plant.
It is understood that oil products already held in tanks at the refinery have been sold to make room for fresh output.
“They have sold products in stocks specifically to empty the tanks,” a trading manager working with the NOC told Reuters.
Ras Lanuf is the largest of Libya’s five oil refineries and the only one that has yet to resume operations since the end of last year’s revolution.
It has a processing capacity of 220,000 oil barrels per day (bpd), representing around 58 per cent of the country’s 380,000-bpd total, making it a significant contributor both to the Libyan economy and regional markets. [/restrict]