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French Navy Stops Tanker From Loading Oil In Libya

A frigate of the French Navy has prevented a tanker from loading refined oil products at a Libyan port as part of a sale to an UAE-registered company, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing four Western diplomats.

The French frigate was on an EU mission to supervise an arms embargo against Libya and to prevent illegal sales of oil and refined petroleum products out of Libya, with which the warring factions in the country could fund their campaigns, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

The tanker was stopped at sea as it was heading for the port of Tobruk in eastern Libya close to the border with Egypt. The tanker has been idling in the area for a week and hasn’t continued on its course to Tobruk, the Western diplomats told Bloomberg.  

Libya’s oil industry is in total disarray after a group of paramilitary formations affiliated with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar occupied Libya’s oil export terminals in January along with pipelines and fields. The blockade came amid continued fighting between the LNA, which is loyal to the eastern Libyan government, and the forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognized by the United Nations.

As a result of the blockade, Libya’s oil production –which had stood at more than 1 million bpd at the start of January – has collapsed to less than 100,000 bpd. 

Since the blockade of the oil ports in January this year, Libya’s crude oil exports have shrunk by 92 percent and the National Oil Corporation (NOC) has lost some $5 billion, the Libyan state oil firm said this week.

“We implore all the patriot sons of this country to come to reason, prioritize the interest of the homeland, and to re-enable the oil ports and pipelines and allow the National Oil Corporation to carry out its work for the benefit of all Libyans, in order to support the national economy and protect it from the consequences of bankruptcy and dependence on foreign banks,” NOC said in a statement.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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