By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 27 May 2017:
The south of Libya with its oil-rich Murzuk Basin has no less value than any other part of the country, National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief Mustafa Sanalla has insisted to local mayors.
He hosted municipal leaders, including the mayors of Murzuk, Qatroun and Traghen at the NOC headquarters in Tripoli. The Murzuk basin in the south-west encompasses the Sharara and El-Feel (Elephant) fields and has been estimated to hold at least five billion barrels of oil or oil equivalent.
The El-Feel field remains under the control of Tebu militias while the Sharara field was this week evacuated by the Misratan 13th Brigade, formerly the Third Force and handed over a Tuareg militia led by Ali Kana.
Sanalla was clearly seeking to build bridges with the local leaders in his drive to boost Libyan output beyond a million barrels a day. At his meeting on Thursday he had with him Khaled Abukhatwa, NOC’s head of health, safety, environment and sustainable development, within whose remit falls relations with locals on NOC’s producing fields.
In the view of most southern leaders, the Revolution failed to reverse the economic and social neglect of the Qaddafi years, which saw the region’s oil resources exploited without a commensurate reinvestment of oil wealth. Sanalla appears to have sought to assure the mayors that there would be a fairer return for the region. His key power here is in awarding jobs and support contracts to locals.