Just two days after it lifted the force majeure on all oil exports, Libya’s National Oil Corporation has declared force majeure again, citing a renewed blockade on its oil export terminals and blaming it on interference from the United Arab Emirates.
NOC placed the oil terminals at Hariga, Brega, Zueitina, Es Sider, and Ras Lanuf under force majeure at the beginning of this year, after forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar occupied Libya’s oil export terminals and oilfields.
The blockade at the ports lasted for more than six months, but parties were negotiating – and apparently reached – an agreement, for the re-opening of the oil terminals and the restart of oil production, which had plummeted to just 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared to 1.2 million bpd before the blockade.
Last Friday, NOC lifted the blockade, possibly sparking concern among fellow OPEC members that more supply would be coming online.
“We are very glad finally to be able to take this important step to national recovery, and I wish to thank all the parties to recent discussions for helping to bring about this successful outcome,” NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement.
The joy proved to be short-lived, however. Just a day after oil exports restarted, “Khalifa Hafter’s armed forces on 11 July ordered a halt to further exports, reversing their cooperative posture in negotiations. NOC has been informed that the instructions to shut down production were given to Khalifa Hafter’s armed forces by the United Arab Emirates,” the National Oil Corporation said in a statement quoted by the Libya Herald.
“This is gravely disappointing, especially following repeated statements by very senior representatives of the UAE last week in support of international efforts to restart oil production in Libya. Wagner and Syrian mercenaries now occupy Es Sider oil port and Wagner and Sudanese mercenaries are camped within the vicinity of the Sharara oil field, preventing Libyan oil from flowing.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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