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article imageLibyan conflict over oil exports drastically reduces production

By Ken Hanly     May 12, 2016 in Business
Tobruk - The Tripoli-based National Oil Corp.(NOC) said oil fields responsible for the bulk of Libyan oil production will be forced to stop production within a month unless the blockade is lifted on the port of Hariga at Tobruk, in eastern Libya.
Mohamed Harari, a spokesperson for the NOC, said: “In less than four weeks we will have to shut production completely because the tanks at Hariga will be full. The blockade will cause serious harm and bring no benefits.” The eastern part of Libya is controlled by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) under prime minister Abdullah al-Thinni which has a rival National Oil Company based in the east. The HoR said that it would not allow any tankers to load and depart Hariga without their approval.
Previously, the HoR had tried to export oil through its own NOC rather than the Tripoli-based NOC which is recognized by oil traders and the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) as having a monopoly on oil exports. The Indian flagged Distya Ameya oil tanker sailed from Hariga near the end of April. It was blacklisted by the UN and returned to offload its cargo at a port in the west under the control of the GNA government. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Martin Kobler, had condemned the attempted export. The UN had blacklisted the tanker but has now been removed from the list.
Oil output in Libya has already fallen about 80 percent since the ouster in 2011 of Muammar Gadaffi. While oil officials in eastern Libya say they have no plans to block shipments from Hariga no tankers have left the port since April 28. The tanker Seachance is moored off the port after it was prevented from exporting a million barrels of crude from Hariga.
HoR representative Abdelsalam Al-Badi had claimed that loading of oil had resumed at Hariga. Harari however refuted this claim: The spokesman of the NOC, Mohammed Al-Harari, confirmed that one of the oil officials in Al-Thanni government – Al-Mabrouk Sultan, had ordered Al-Khaleej Al-Arabi Oil Company not to load oil on a tanker related to the Tripoli-based NOC.
Exports through Hariga constitute about three quarters of present Libyan exports. Last week, the Arabian Gulf Oil Co. which ships through Hariga said production had been dropped from 240,000 barrels a day to just 90,000. Harari also noted the oil from some of the local fields is high in wax, and if oil does not keep moving through the pipelines it could solidify causing permanent production loss. NOC Tripoli-based chairman Mustafa Sanalia said: “Open the ports for the wellbeing of our country. Unity is the only solution.” Sanalia also pointed out: "The worst thing is this blockade will achieve nothing. In terms of legitimacy, which is what the blockaders want, it is a dead end." The HoR says that it plans to export more oil through its own NOC but given that their earlier attempt was unsuccessful it is not clear how any further attempts could succeed.
More about Libyan National Oil Company, Libyan House of Representatives, libyan oil exports
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