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General Haftar Reopens Libyan Oil Ports Temporarily

The Libyan National Army led by General Khalifa Haftar will reopen Libya’s oil ports for a short while to empty tanks with crude oil and condensate and ship them abroad, a spokesman for an LNA affiliate said in a televised statement.

Libya will export some of the fuel, the statement suggested, while the remaining fuel will be shipped into eastern Libya to feed its power plants.

“The instructions were to allow for the emptying of tanks holding crude and condensate stored at the oil ports to be loaded and exported,” LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said, as quoted by Bloomberg. “The decision taken yesterday doesn’t mean the reopening of fields or the resumption of exports.”

The move followed media reports earlier this week that said Haftar, whose LNA holds Libya’s oil ports, may reopen them to tackle a power shortage problem in the east of the country: the headquarters of the alternative Libyan government with which Haftar’s group is affiliated.

Releasing fuel from the tanks at the oil ports could go towards solving another problem, too. The tanks overflowing with crude and fuels pose a disaster risk, the National Oil Corporation’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said last week.

The LNA blockaded the ports in Libya’s Oil Crescent, effectively suspending production as well. Libya produced more than 1.2 million bpd last year while the ports operated as usual. Now, this has fallen to below 100,000 bpd, with NOC’s chairman estimating that the company has so far suffered losses of some $6 billion from the oil port blockade and the production outage.

These prompted NOC to institute a force majeure on oil exports early this year. In July, the company lifted the force majeure as the Haftar-affiliated forces agreed to reopen the facilities after an agreement for the fairer distribution of oil revenues was struck. Just two days later, however, the blockade was back, and so was the force majeure, leaving production crippled.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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