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Libya’s Petroleum Guard Shuts Down Oil Port

The Petroleum Facilities Guard has shut down the Hariga oil port in eastern Libya after the National Oil Corporation delayed the payment of salaries for its members, the Libya Observer reports, adding that according to the PFG, some 1,000 of its members have not been paid for a year.

A few years ago, the Petroleum Facilities Guard blockaded all the Libyan oil ports. This action suspended exports until the Libyan National Army, a group affiliated with the eastern Libyan government, wrested control of the ports and handed it over to the National Oil Corporation.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, warned of lower oil revenues for January because of maintenance work on oil transport infrastructure, which will reduce the flow of oil. For December, the NOC reported record revenues of $1.115 billion, yet Sanalla noted that the government has been slow in disbursing money the corporation needs to keep operating after more than eight months of oil port blockades that have cost it billions in lost revenues.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard, meanwhile, has been threatening the suspension of exports again. Earlier this month, the guards blocked the loading of at least one oil cargo at the Hariga port and delayed it, signaling that Libya’s recovering oil production is still facing substantial challenges such as export disruption.

Meanwhile, however, the North African nation has managed to ramp up its oil production from less than 100,000 bpd in September when the LNA lifted the oil port blockade—to 1.25 million bpd at the end of 2020. This has been bad news for oil exporters as prices slumped, pressured by the additional supply. It may also have been one reason for Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut an additional 1 million bpd from its oil production to reverse the price drop.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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