Libya’s National Oil Corporation warned in a statement yesterday that it had detected attempts for illegal sales of crude oil from “a group of individuals.” NOC is the only one who is authorized to export oil from the country as per UN resolutions following the civil war, and it can only sell it to 16 companies with which it is in contractual relations.
NOC said that illegal sales are often made at huge discounts to the official selling price, causing losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. Reuters recalls that previously, factions in the east of the country had tried to sell oil independently of NOC.
The statement comes shortly after clashes between two eastern factions – the Libyan National Army and the Benghazi Defense Brigades – for control over tow of Libya’s oil export terminals, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, with a combined loading capacity of 600,000 bpd. The LNA, affiliated with the Tobruk-based parliament, temporarily lost control to the BNB but quickly regained it and now NOC expects to once more become the manager of the ports. This is what happened after the LNA’s first taking of the four oil ports in the Oil Crescent last September.
However, there are doubts as an eastern representative of NOC recently walked out of negotiations for the unification of the company, which had split into two amid the civil war—one western and one eastern. The officially recognized NOC is the western one, based in Tripoli, a fact that some eastern factions are not taking well.
Before the clashes between LNA and BDB, which caused the shutdown of several nearby fields, Libya was producing 700,000 barrels of oil daily, planning to boost this to 1.1 million bpd by the end of the year. The country was exempted from the OPEC production cut agreement as the war had crippled its oil industry.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.