(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in Tripoli was blocked from loading a shipment of crude oil by the eastern government’s rival oil company, which also calls itself the National Oil Corporation, officials said Tuesday.
The Tobruk-based NOC prevented workers at the Marsa el-Hariga port in Tobruk from loading the Maltese-flagged tanker called Seachance, which has been waiting to receive its shipment for more than two days.
The defiant move by the eastern government’s House of Representatives (HoR) comes after its breakaway NOC failed in its attempt to illegally export 650,000 barrels of crude oil last week after the United Nations Security Council blacklisted the ship from entering any ports and made it return back to Libya.
According to Libyan law, the country’s oil should be pumped and sold exclusively through the internationally recognized NOC based in Tripoli.
The eastern government’s attempts at preventing the NOC from exporting oil from the Marsa el-Hariga port could decrease Libya’s oil exports by 120,000 bpd, which is a devastating blow to the country’s economy as it almost exclusively relies on oil exports for revenues
The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which is attempting to establish its authority across the country, has continuously faced obstacles by the HoR, who have been reluctant in giving their vote of confidence to the new government.
Officials from the HoR have vowed to continue in their efforts at exporting oil separately from the GNA, is another example of the HoR’s disregard for Libyan law and Libya’s path forward.
If the eastern government continues in its attempts at blocking the Tripoli-based NOC from exporting oil, it could not only put the future of Libya’s economy in jeopardy, but also threaten the country’s fragile peace agreement.