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article imageOp-Ed: Chair of Libyan National Oil criticizes Zintan brigades

By Ken Hanly     Oct 18, 2016 in Business
Tripoli - The chair of the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC), Mustafa Sanallah noted that attempts to raise Libya's oil output face numerous problems. Among them are pipelines closed off by the Zintan brigades from the western Al-Feel and Al-Sharara fields
Sanallah said: “Both oilfields have an output capacity of 400 thousand barrels per day and Libya is definitely missing that because Zintani armed gangs had closed the Reyaina pipelines.” Sanallah said that the NOC is attempting to contact the armed group in order to convince them to allow maintenance personnel to reopen the pipelines. In July 2015 he said that the NOC had contacted Zintan Municipality but was unable to negotiate a solution. Sanallah claims the closure resulted in a loss to the Libyan treasury of 27 billion dollars, saying: “Libya has lost those billions over the acts of a heinous gang.” Sanallah said that the NOC tried to solve the issue through Zintani elders and notables to try and reach a settlement but to no avail and he claimed: “Even the city’s municipal members failed to oblige the gangs to implement the outcome statement of the July 07, 2016 meeting, in which Italian Eni Oil Company and Spanish Repsol Oil Company took part. We have fell back upon the judiciary and we contacted the General Attorney to arrest the gangs and bring them to justice after all our attempts to settle the issue went in vain.” It is doubtful that the General Attorney has any power to arrest Zintan brigade members.
Libya began production again from the Waha fields in the east, bringing the country’s total output to 580,000 barrels per day. This is up some 80,000 barrels per day since the National Oil Corporation’s (NOC) last posted figure.
The Zintan militias, al-Qaqa and al-Sawaiq battalions, are anti-Islamist militias allied with powerful Marshal Haftar, commander in chief of the Libyan National Army associated with the House of Representatives (HoR), rival government to the UN-backed Government of National Accord. They were part of Haftar's Operation Dignity from the first launching an attack and burning the parliament buildings in May of 2014, as shown on the appended video.
Sanallah unlike many others, such as Martin Kobler the UN envoy to Libya, was quick to welcome the takeover of four oil exporting ports by Haftar from his opponent the head of the Libyan Facilities Guard (PFG) Ibrahim Jodhran. Jodhran actually supported the GNA and its NOC after a deal was signed with the GNA. However, Sanallah was quite critical of the deal and considered Jodhran a schemer and crook. When Haftar gave control of the ports to the NOC and allowed exports, Sanallah was no doubt quite happy. Perhaps, Sanallah will put pressure on Haftar to try and persuade his Zintan allies to allow the oil to flow again. Sanallah fails to mention that the Zintan brigades along with Haftar do not recognize the GNA whose national oil company Sanallah heads.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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