By Sami Zaptia.
London, 18 January 2020:
Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) today declared force majeure at five of its eastern oil ports of Brega, Ras Lanuf, Hariga, Zueitina and Sidra ports. It blamed the move on ‘‘blockades on oil exports’’ imposed by the Khalifa Hafter-led Libyan National Army (LNA).
The NOC said that the LNA General Command and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) of the Central and Eastern Regions had instructed the managements of its Sirte Oil Company, Harouge Oil Operations, Waha Oil Company, Zueitina Oil Company and Arab Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) subsidiaries, to stop oil exports from Brega, Ras Lanuf, Hariga, Zueitina, and Sidra ports.
It added that the blockade instructions were given by Major General Nagi al-Moghrabi, the commander of PFG appointed by the LNA, and Colonel Ali al-Jilani from the LNA’s Greater Sirte Operations Room.
The NOC stated that this blockade will result in a loss of 800,000 barels per day of crude oil production and financial losses of approximately US$ 55 million per day.
Meanwhile, in a statement released today, UNSMIL expresses deep concern over current efforts to disrupt or impair oil production in Libya. It said that this move would have devastating consequences first and foremost for the Libyan people who depend on the free flow of oil for their well-being. It added that it will also have terrible knock-on effects for the country’s already deteriorated economic and financial situation.
UNSMIL urged all Libyans to exercise maximum restraint while international negotiations continue to broker an end to Libya’s longstanding crisis, including recommending measures to ensure transparency in the allocation of resources. It reiterated the importance of preserving the integrity and neutrality of the National Oil Corporation.
Yesterday, the NOC had strongly condemned calls to blockade oil ports ahead of Sunday’s Berlin conference on Libya by tribes in the eastern oil crescent.
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla had said that the oilfields and ports were ‘‘not cards to be played to solve political matters’’ and that a shutdown was ‘‘like setting fire to your own house.”
Sanalla’s statement came on the back of Alumda Al-Sanussi al-Zwei, head of the Zwei tribe which inhabits large parts of Libya’s eastern oil crescent region where about two-thirds of the country’s hydrocarbons are produced, was quoted by Libya’s eastern-based LANA state news agency as ‘‘announcing the start of the movement to close oilfields and oil ports’’ in order to ‘’dry up the sources of terrorist financing (by Tripoli) through oil revenues’’.
The tribal leader told LANA that the movement “closed the Sariri oilfield today and (as a result this) stopped work at Zweitina oil port”.
He had claimed out that ‘‘all tribes in the region are involved in this movement until the demands are implemented’’.
Monday’s announced closures and Saturday’s NOC-announced force majeure come ahead of Sunday’s Berlin conference on Libya seeking a solution to the Libya crisis.
It follows on from last Sunday’s ceasefire called for by Turkey and Russia which has been observed by the Hafter forces attacking Tripoli and the Tripoli forces aligned to the Faiez Serraj internationally recognized government in Tripoli that are defending the capital.
It will also be recalled that a peace deal put forward by Russia and Moscow last Monday was signed by Faiez Serraj but Hafter had left Moscow unexpectedly without signing the agreement.
Hafter’s forces had launched an unprovoked attack on Tripoli on 4 April 2019.
Although there have been reports of some daily violations of the ceasefire heard on the outskirts of the capital since Sunday, residents report a general overall continuation of the ceasefire.
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