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LNA Warns Of “Terrorist Attack” On Libya’s Oil Crescent

"Today, a very large meeting of terrorist groups and armed groups took place in Sirte, we know who they belong to. They have a plan proposed at the meeting to attack the Oil Crescent", a spokesman for the Libyan National Army has told local media as cited by Russia’s Sputnik as fighting between the LNA and rival groups intensify, sending oil prices higher.

The LNA is affiliated with the eastern Libyan government that has not been recognized by the UN. The group wrested control over the Oil Crescent from the Petroleum Facilities Guard two years ago and passed it onto the National Oil Corporation that is also recognized by the UN. Now, however, General Khalifa Haftar’s army wants more than control of the Oil Crescent, and the fighting has moved to Tripoli.

NOC’s chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, has vowed to make sure production continues uninterrupted whatever happens in the Oil Crescent, but as previous events have shown, when a group is determined enough to cause a production outage at an oil field, they have the means to do it, whether by blocking a pipeline or any facility at the field.

"Continued production is vital to our economic and shared future. However, we will spare no effort to ensure all sector employees are protected and kept out of harm's way. Conflict only serves to deepen division in our country and jeopardize our national recovery", Sanalla said earlier this week. True though this may be, there are too many rival groups vying for control of the country’s oil wealth to leave the industry out of politics as Sanalla suggested.

Libya produced a little over 900,000 bpd of crude in February, the latest month for which OPEC has production data. This was slightly up from January but down from the over 1 million bpd in production on average for the last quarter of 2018 before a massive outage at the country’s largest field, Sharara, occurred, suspending production for weeks. Again, the reason for the outage was clashes between armed groups.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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