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Libya To Lift Force Majeure On Exports Only If Military Exits Oil Facilities

Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is conditioning lifting the force majeure on the country’s oil exports on the demilitarization of all oil facilities and export terminals, NOC’s chairman Mustafa Sanalla said on Friday, while eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar announced the lifting of the blockade.

Libya’s oil export terminals have been closed since January after paramilitary formations affiliated with Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) occupied the oil export terminals and oilfields of the African OPEC producer, effectively blocking Libya’s oil exports.  

Currently, oil production in Libya is just 100,000 bpd—down from 1.2 million bpd at the start of the year, just before the blockade in January.

In recent weeks, rival factions and the foreign powers supporting them have been negotiating some kind of an agreement that could lead to Libyan oil start flowing to the global market at a time of weak demand recovery and weak oil prices.

NOC’s chairman Sanalla said on Friday, as carried by Reuters: “In light of the current chaos and non-organised negotiations, force majeure can’t be lifted.”

According to Sanalla, Libya’s oil sector shouldn’t have been politicized and used as a bargaining chip.

Just as the chairman of the Libyan state oil firm was calling for full demilitarization of oil facilities before force majeure can be lifted, a source close to Haftar told Reuters that the general would announce very soon the lifting of the blockade on the country’s oil exports.

Last week, NOC said that a warship had been staying at the Ras Lanuf oil terminal for several days, and demanded that military activity at vital Libyan oil facilities cease.

Three weeks ago, Haftar's forces rejected the ceasefire announced two days earlier by the UN-backed government of Libya and the east-based rival administration, dismissing the proposal for truce as a "marketing" stunt.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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