Forces loyal to the rebel government in eastern Libya on Tuesday threatened to disrupt any oil consignment that would approach the Libyan coast for a transaction with the Government of National Unity (GNA).
The rebels said they would not allow any oil business between the Fayyez Al Sarraj led government without their prior agreement. This is despite the fact that the GNA is the only internationally recognized governing authority.
“We will not allow the export of Libyan oil except through the NOC in Benghazi and we will strike any ship approaching the coast of Libya without prior approval of the NOC in Benghazi,” General Abdel Razzak al-Nadhouri, Chief of Staff of the forces loyal to the Eastern authorities warned.
We will not allow the export of Libyan oil except through the NOC in Benghazi and we will strike any ship approaching the coast of Libya without prior approval of the NOC in Benghazi.
This warning, he said, is “a response to the agreement between (Martin) Kobler, the UN representative in Libya and (Ibrahim) al-Jadhran, chief of Oil Installations Guards (GIP)’‘.
Following a meeting a week ago with Martin Kobler, Ibrahim al-Jadhran announced the imminent reopening of two major oil terminals, al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf, which were closed because of attacks by the Islamic State (IS) insurgents in early 2016.
The GIP, responsible for the protection of key oil terminals of the country have joined forces with troops loyal to the Tripoli based GNA in fighting IS in their stronghold of Sirte (450 km east of Tripoli).
The GNA aims to revive the oil sector whose income is vital to the Libyan economy after the slump in production following the chaos in the country since the overthrow of longtime ruler Muhammad al Gaddafi in 2011.
The Libyan energy sector is managed by the National Oil Company (NOC) which split into two rival branches. The ‘official’ outfit is based in the capital and reports to the GNA. Its rival is installed in Benghazi (1,000 km east of Tripoli) and remains close to unrecognized authorities who refuse to cede power to the GNA.
The two rival branches of the NOC announced their merger on July 3, but nothing concrete has been implemented. In a statement on Tuesday, the NOC in Tripoli called for the oil and gas sector in Libya to be “kept out of political conflicts.”