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article imageOp-Ed: Tobruk Libyan government warns oil tankers must have permit

By Ken Hanly     Jul 26, 2016 in Politics
Tobruk - Abdulraziig al-Nadori, Chief of the General Staff of the House of Representatives, warned foreign ships not to enter Libyan territorial waters without a permit from the Bayda-based National Oil Company (NOC) or risk being targeted by air or ground forces
Al-Nadori urged all oil companies to make sure to coordinate their activities with the parallel NOC in the east before they enter Libyan territorial waters. He said an official statement would be made later. This statement makes it clear that as far as the House of Representatives (HoR) is concerned there is no agreement with the rival Tripoli-based NOC as was supposed to have been negotiated some time back.
In a statement Tuesday, Al-Nadori urged all oil companies to coordinate with the parallel NOC in Benghazi before they enter Libyan waters saying an official statement about this issue will be delivered later. In the first days of July there were meetings with officials among officials of the Tripoli-based National Oil Company, recognized by the Government of National Accord the UN and internationally, and the Bayda-based rival National Oil Company, recognized by the Al-Thinni government of the HoR. A merger was agreed to with the head of the Tripoli-based NOC, Mustafa Sanalla, remaining chair and the head of the rival NOC, becoming a member of the board. However it became very clear within a few days that the deal was not acceptable to Al-Thinni or his government as noted in an article in Digital Journal on July 8. Al-Thinni demanded specific shares of the revenue among other things and said there was no deal until his demands were met. The press seems not to have followed up on the issue.
Another recent deal has also seemed to have fallen through. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Martin Kobler met with head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), Ibrahim Jadhran, and arranged a deal to reopen the ports of Ras Lanauf and Es Sidre. However, Kobler seems to have done this without the participation of or consent of the Tripol-based NOC or its head. According to the Libya Observer, the PC of the GNA agreed to it. It is not clear whether the Presidency Council of the GNA was involved in the negotiations. Jadhran is still apparently waiting for some one from the GNA to sign on to the agreement. Sanalla wrote a savagely critical letter to Kobler about the deal warning that the deal makes the NOC open to bribery by militias, in order to keep the oil flowing. However, it is already in that position. It is not clear what the alternative is at present.
In reaction to the deal from a quarter not supporting the GNA or NOC tribes in the area south of the two ports in the oil fields that feed into the ports demanded that they be consulted and their Council agree to any deal to restart production and open up the lines to the ports. Just to emphasize the need for others to be involved, General Khalifa Haftar and his militia (LNA) control the oil fields in the Wahat region. He said that he will not allow any pumping of oil unless there is coordination with his group and the Al-Thinni government.
The initial optimism after the apparent merger of the two rival NOC's and the agreement with Jadhran appears to have been misguided, as both deals appear to have fallen apart or not been finalized. Libya is desperately in need of revenue from increased oil production. Both sides lose if there is no agreement providing some degree of hope that an agreement can still be found.l
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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