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COVID-19 In A Civil War

Why Haftar Isn’t Going to Sell Libyan Oil

While there are plenty of political and industry players the world over who would like to see a winner in the Libyan civil war stalemate, the oil and gas market at large would take a significant hit if the conflict were to end and the oil starts flowing again. Not even the myriad of external forces lining up to materially support either General Khalifa Haftar’s ongoing attempt to take Tripoli or the inadequate and militia-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), behind which the UN has hesitatingly thrown its weight, have been able to resolve anything. 

But the coronavirus just might. 

In a country that, until now, has not had a single case, the other shoe is dropping. On Tuesday, Libya reported its first COVID-19 case, and the fear is that it does not have the facilities to contain a spread. 

For now, the National Oil Company (NOC), the neutral voice in all of this, is thinking it will be able to turn the taps back on for 1 million barrels per day of oil. 

Is it realistic?

Those taps are controlled right now by Haftar, and his external allies, which include OPEC king Saudi Arabia, OPEC prince UAE and even Russia (by way of unofficial mercenaries), are not interested in having the general give the green light to start pumping again. So there is very little pressure at all on Haftar to change strategy. That strategy so far has been to put the squeeze on the Tripoli-based…





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