By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 28 July 2016:
Two members of the Presidency Council (PC) – Musa Koni and Ahmed Hamza Mahdi – together with the PC’s defence minister, Mahdi Al-Barghathi were in Ras Lanuf today to sign the agreement with central regional Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG) leader Ibrahim Jadhran to reopen the oil terminals there and at Sidra.
Barghathi and Koni flew in from Cairo where they accompanied PC head Faiez Serraj in his talks with House of Representatives (HoR) President Ageela Saleh.
No details have been published as yet as to the agreement although it is understood that a substantial sum of money will be paid to Jedhran which will include back salaries to as many as 23,000 PFG forces.
There are claims, though, that the PFG has massively inflated the number of its members and that the real figure is around 12,000 and of those only some 3,000 are actively working within the PFG.
The deal has incurred the wrath of Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanalla, and Sirte Basin oil workers.
The latter say they will not allow oil to be pumped to the terminals unless there is approval from the HoR and the Benghazi NOC.
For his part, Sanalla has said that he will not lift force majeure at the two terminals if there is an agreement to pay Jadhran. In an angry letter to UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler earlier this week, he denounced any deal with the PFG leader. It would, he said, set “a terrible precedent” to others to try and extort money from the state by shutting pipelines, oil fields or ports.
He also said that he did not think that combined capacity at the two terminals would exceed 100,000 b/d in the foreseeable future.
The pre-revolution joint capacity was some 670,000 b/d. However, the damage to the two terminals, particularly the holding tanks – first at the end of 2014 when they were attacked by Libya Dawn forces and then attacks by the so-called Islamic State at the beginning of this year – has seriously reduced capacity.