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UN Votes To Extend Libya Oil Sanctions Amid Ceasefire Quagmire

The United Nations Security Council voted to extend sanctions on illicit oil exports from Libya ahead of a vote on a draft resolution seeking to help resolve the situation in the war-torn country.

Russia’s Sputnik reports the oil sanctions were extended until the end of April next year and that the panel of experts set up to help the implementation of the sanctions got an extended mandate until mid-May 2021.

The oil export sanctions for Libya have been in place since 2014, authorizing members of the UN to inspect vessels in open waters.

Illicit oil exports, however, seem to be the least of Libya’s problems right now. The North African country is currently producing less than 200,000 bpd of crude because of an oil port blockade by tribal groups loyal to the Libyan National Army, an organization affiliated with the eastern Libyan government.

The eastern government and the LNA, led by General Khalifa Haftar, are fighting for control over the country with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord. This control is inseparable from the control over the national oil industry.

Right now, only the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation has the right to sell Libyan oil abroad. Until last year, LNA and Haftar worked together with the NOC, but last year Haftar took everyone by surprise by launching an offensive against Tripoli, claiming that soon Libya would have one single government.

As a result, Libya’s oil production has gone from over 1.2 million bpd to less than 200,000 bpd, with NOC suffering losses so far estimated at around $1.3 billion as oil fields have to be shut down because of the blockade. Earlier this week, a refinery also shut down. Azzawiya Oil Refining Company said it was out of feedstock and had no stockpiled oil to process.

The vote on the next resolution for Libya is set for tomorrow, according to a diplomatic source that spoke to Sputnik.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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