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Libya Moves Closer To Resolving Quarrel Over Oil Revenues

Libya’s UN-recognized government said on Wednesday that an urgent meeting of all stakeholders involved had agreed to work toward unfreezing Libya’s oil revenues, an essential part of the OPEC member’s budget income.

A meeting earlier this week of representatives of the internationally recognized government, the Central Bank of Libya, and the National Oil Corporation (NOC) decided to “Look into mechanisms to lift the current freeze and restore matters to normal, with emphasis on activating the monitoring mechanisms and adherence to the standards of disclosure and transparency,” the Tripoli government said, as carried by Libya Herald.

Libya has restored the level of oil production back to volumes it was pumping before the blockade of its oil ports and oilfields in January this year, but the revenues from oil sales have been the sticking point in returning to normal operations.

At the end of last month, NOC said it would not be transferring the revenues from crude oil sales to the Central Bank of Libya until the bank adopts transparent policies on the spending of those revenues.

NOC was responding to a statement from earlier in November from the Central Bank, which, the oil firm says, provided false and misleading figures about the revenues and expenditures between January and October this year.

The strained relations among Libyan institutions are nothing new, but this time the rift between the National Oil Corporation and the Central Bank comes just as Libya’s oil production has returned to 1.25 million bpd, the level the OPEC member exempted from the OPEC+ cuts was pumping before the port blockade in January. 

The faster-than-expected increase in Libyan oil production is giving OPEC and its allies in the OPEC+ group another issue to discuss at their meetings this week, on top of the outlook for oil demand early next year. OPEC’s crude output jumped in November by 750,000 bpd, with Libya accounting for most of that increase, according to the monthly Reuters survey.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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