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Libya’s Oil Minister Wants NOC Chairman Out

Libya’s Oil Minister Mohamed Oun has recommended to the government of national unity that it replace the long-serving chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanalla, in a board reshuffle, Argus reported on Wednesday, citing a Libyan source.

Since getting a unity government in March and a petroleum minister for the first time in five years, Libya has vowed it would raise its oil production, provided that the NOC receives the necessary funds.

However, according to Argus, the tensions between the oil minister Oun and NOC’s boss Sanalla have increased, also because of the overlapping of their functions and duties and the jurisdiction of the oil ministry and the national oil corporation.

Five months after the Libyan oil ministry was created, giving the war-torn country an oil ministry for the first time in half a decade, Oun has now written to the government of national unity with a request to replace Sanalla.

The government—an interim cabinet until elections are held in December this year—will decide on the request, the Libyan source told Argus. This implies that the oil ministry cannot by itself reshuffle the top management at the NOC.

At the end of last month, Oun said that Libya could boost its oil production to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) by the middle of 2022 if the industry has the necessary funding. Currently, the North African producer exempted from the OPEC+ cuts pumps around 1.2 million bpd. According to secondary sources in OPEC’s latest Monthly Oil Market Report, Libya’s crude oil production averaged 1.165 million bpd in July, up from 1.163 million bpd in June.  

Libya will struggle to keep its oil production at current levels if the country fails to resolve a long-running dispute over its budget, Oun told Bloomberg earlier this week. The success of Libyan plans to boost oil production remains in jeopardy due to disagreements over the nation’s budget—the first national budget in nearly a decade.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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