By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 17 May 2016:
Libya’s parallel National Oil Corporations – that in Tripoli and its rival in Benghazi – . . .[restrict]have agreed to co-operate so as to allow the country to export oil again. However, it is not certain that the agreement will be respected on the ground.
It was made in Vienna on Monday between Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the Tripoli-based NOC and Nagi Elmaghrabi, appointed by the Thinni administration in the east.
The objective is to ensure that exports begin again this week from the Hariga terminal in Tobruk and it is reported that as a result, Libyan production could rise by 300,000 b/d.
Currently neither side is able to export oil. It is not being exported from the west of the country because the pipelines remain shut down by Zintani forces while in the east at the only terminal operating at present, Tobruk’s Hariga, exports by both NOCs have been blocked. Elmaghrabi’s NOC was blocked from selling oil last month when the Distya Ameya which had lifted was 650,000 barrels of oil was sanctioned by the UN and was finally forced to take the oil to Zawia. The tanker SeaChance, hired by the Tripoli NOC, was then prevented by local Tobruk workers from loading.
It is now reported that two tankers, the Rizopon and the Iblea, are docked at Hariga waiting to be loaded with oil on behalf of the Tripoli NOC. The SeaChance is still in the vicinity as are another two tankers.
It is not certain, though, that any tankers commissioned by the Tripoli NOC will be allowed to load at Hariga. Under Sanalla, the latter is now fully supporting the Presidency Council led by Faiez Serraj. But despite the announcement of the Vienna agreement, the authorities in Tobruk are firmly opposed to any dealings with the Serraj administration or any institutions or persons working with it.
As for the agreement resulting in other eastern oil terminals being reopened and able to export, that too is doubtful. The oilfields linked to the other eastern terminal are increasingly under the control of the Libyan National Army loyal to Khalifa Hafter. He is unlikely to allow oil to be exported if the revenues then go to the Central Bank of Libya which like the Tripoli NOC now supports Serraj.
As for Hariga’s reactivation resulting in a potential increase of 300,000 b/d, its capacity is just 120,000 b/d.
There are meanwhile unconfirmed reports that Elmagrabi and some other members of the eastern NOC were promised positions at the Vienna meeting in NOC affiliates.
Vienna is the headquarters of OPEC, although OPEC sources say that it had nothing to do with the new NOC rapprochement. Questions are nonetheless being asked who will represent Libya at the OPEC conference there in a fortnight’s time. OPEC had recognised the eastern NOC as the legitimate body but the UN has said that the only NOC with which there can be any dealings is that under the Presidency Council’s control. That means the Tripoli one under Sanalla. [/restrict]