After the end of the armed clashes in the oil crescent area and falling under the control of Haftar Forces, the Libyan scene was surprised by the announcement of these Forces to hand over the ports and all the oil fields it controls to the parallel Oil Corporation in the Eastern Province. This is a violation of all local and international laws that state the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli as the legitimate institution that manages the ports and oil fields in the country.
The decision taken by Haftar and his Forces increased the fears of the Libyan citizen that the scenario of Ibrahim AL-JIdran would be repeated by taking oil as a foil to gain political and military interests.
The decision, which some described as irresponsible, comes after the improving Libya daily crude oil output, coincided with the rise in Brent crude prices in world markets, leading to the recovery of the country’s economy and expectations of a decline in the state budget deficit this year.
Libya’s production of oil reached its highest level in the last five years. The average oil production was more than 1 million barrels per day in January, the highest level since July 2013, when Al-Jidran closed the oil ports.
The rise in Libya’s oil production was offset by a rise in the price of oil in the market, exceeding the $ 70 mark for the first time in three years, making economic experts predict a recovery to the Libyan economy for the first time in three difficult years.
Distortion of public opinion
The chairman of the NOC in Tripoli, Mustafa Sannallah described the statements made by the spokesperson of Haftar Forces, Ahmed Al-Mesmari, who said that they received no support from the NOC for their protection of the facilities, as misleading statements, stressing that the Corporation does not have the right to distribute oil revenues. It is an institution run by technocrat and not politicians and sells oil according to official prices published on its official website, said Sannallah in a TV interview.
Force majeure still ongoing
The National Oil Corporation in continues to impose force majeure on the export of oil at the Es Sidra and Rasf Lanuf ports, which were attacked by the Al-Jidran Forces and did not lift the majeure after Haftar’s decision.
Sannallah stressed that the Security Council resolutions 256-278-2362 are very clear about the legitimacy of the NOC in Tripoli and that it is the sole responsible for the management and export of oil in Libya.
He affirmed that the international community condemns these acts and cannot agree to stop the pumping of oil, including countries supporting Haftar, noting that halting the ports of oil crescent from export poses a serious threat to Libya’s income from hard currency.
Parallel Corporation sells oil at low prices
Sanallah also said that the Parallel Corporation in the Eastern Province has a history of manipulating oil prices and has already offered to sell oil at a price of less than 4 to 5 dollars from official prices in the market.
In a televised statement, Sannallah added that the parallel institution has been negligent in the sovereignty of the Libyan state, stressing that its contracts are available to the international sanctions committee for consideration.
Its actions are “disgraceful and suspicious” that no one has done during the lifetime of the oil establishment in Libya since oil production began in 1961, said the chairman of the Tripoli NOC.
Libyans are looking how this political conflict on the oil crescent will affect their living conditions, the consequent increase in prices and the low purchasing power of the Libyan dinar, especially that oil is the main source for obtaining hard currency in the country.