By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 28 May 2017:
Growing instances of employees of the Zawia oil refinery and Brega Oil Marketing company being threatened by local militias in Zawia hoping to obtain fuel to smuggle out of the country were the main subject in talks yesterday in Tripoli between the chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanalla, and the two companies’ managements.
It is alleged that armed groups, some of whom are supposed to be guarding oil facilities, have been have been stealing fuel and other equipment ,including vehicles, from the refinery. The fuel is said to be then taken by truck to Zuwara and smuggled by boat out of the country.
More than one militia is involved, it is claimed.
At yesterday’s meeting, Sanalla indicated that the NOC was looking at “tough new measures” to halt the theft and the smuggling. He also told the two companies that they needed to boost security procedures as well as document all incidents and take legal action following them.
Sanalla has taken an increasingly tough line on fuel smuggling which is estimated to have cost the country half a billion dollars in lost income. In January, he publicly accused the leader of the Nasr brigade, which was providing security at the Zawia refinery, of being involved in smuggling fuel from it. It resulted in the militia ending its ties with the refinery.