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Libyan ports could reopen to release the fuel needed to end power shortages ports of the country, The National reports, citing the commander of a group affiliated with Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army.
Eastern Libya has been hit hard by the blockade of oil ports that started in January as these facilities also contain storage tanks for crude and fuels, depriving the region of feedstock for its power plants. Power outages in the East are now frequent with some of them lasting for up to 12 hours.
Releasing some 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 militarization of oil facilities, the presence of mercenaries as well as the military escalation increase the risks that hydrocarbons and chemicals stored at oil ports pose to workers and local population," Sanalla said. "This may lead to a disaster that is more severe than Beirut's port and a massive destruction that will cause Libya to be out of the oil market for so many years."
The oil port blockade began as Haftar’s LNA launched an offensive against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord with the intention of removing it from power. The military group also claimed oil revenues should be distributed more fairly among stakeholders rather than going into the GNA’s and the NOC’s coffers.
In July, NOC lifted the force majeure on oil exports it had imposed following the start of the blockade, 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.
Libya used to pump more than 1.2 million barrels daily before the blockade. This has now fallen to less than 100,000 bpd.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.