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Libya’s NOC Calls For Sanctions Over Port Seizure As Production Halts

Gas flaring

Libya’s Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation (NOC) is calling for sanctions against 46 individuals and entities seeking to run four oil ports that are now closed after the latest unrest took nearly all of Libya’s oil production offline on Monday.

In a letter to the UN sanctions committee and foreign embassies, Mustafa Sanalla—the chairman of the UN-backed NOC based in Tripoli—called upon the international community to back sanctions against persons and entities seeking to run four oil ports that were handed over to a rival oil corporation based in Benghazi, The Guardian reports.

The two NOCs have been vying for control over Libya’s oil riches for years. At one point, they agreed to start working together to make the best of the resources, but the agreement did not last long. Now, the eastern NOC has had the opportunity to seize the Oil Crescent thanks to the Libyan National Army (LNA), an eastern government-affiliated militia that wrested control over the oil ports from the Petroleum Facilities Guard two years ago. At the time, the LNA handed control to the Tripoli NOC. But this time, after two weeks of fighting with several other armed groups in mid-June, the army decided to give control of the ports to the eastern NOC.

Libya’s oil production came to a halt on Monday, after the Tripoli-based NOC run by Sanalla declared force majeure on crude oil loadings at the Hariga and Zuetina oil terminals, adding to the force majeure at the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals. The NOC confirmed that the total daily production loss amounts to 850,000 bpd of crude oil.

In the letter to the UN, the Tripoli NOC said that it had evidence showing that allies of LNA’s Khalifa Haftar had offered questionable contracts breaching UN resolutions that would allow the siphoning of millions of dollars out of Libya’s oil revenues.

Related: The Biggest Risk For Natural Gas Markets

Last week, the governments of France, Italy, the UK, and the United States said in a joint statement that they were “deeply concerned about the announcement that the Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil fields and facilities will be transferred to the control of an entity other than the legitimate National Oil Corporation.”

“The legitimate National Oil Corporation must be allowed again to take up unhindered work on behalf of the Libyan people, to repair infrastructure damaged after the attack by forces under the direction of Ibrahim Jadhran, and to restore the oil exports and production disrupted by that attack,” France, Italy, the UK, and the United States said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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