Three months after an oil blockade began during the political turmoil, the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) has resumed crude exports from two terminals.
In a statement on Wednesday, July 13, the NOC said the “state of force majeure on the Marsa Brega and Zouetina terminals” in the northeast of the country had been lifted. “The tanker Ebla is on its way to load hydrocarbons,” it added.
The status of “force majeure,” which may be invoked in extraordinary circumstances, enables the NOC to be absolved of liability in the event that oil delivery contracts are broken.
The NOC announced a state of force majeure for some of the largest oil sites, notably Marsa Brega and Zouetina, at the end of June, lamenting losses of more than 3.5 billion dollars as a result of their forced shutdown since mid-April.
“In the last few days, contacts with the guards of the oil installations and the chairman of the energy committee in parliament have led to the conviction that it is necessary to resume the export of hydrocarbons,” NOC boss Mustafa Sanalla was quoted as saying in the statement.
Libya, which has the most rich reserves in Africa, has been engulfed in upheaval since Muammar Gaddafi’s regime was toppled in 2011 and is beset by tensions between the east and west.
Since March, there have been two competing governments in Tripoli, one headed by Abdelhamid Dbeibah (2021), the other by Fathi Bachagha, who has the backing of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the strongman of the east.
In mid-April, forces associated with the eastern camp forcibly locked six oil fields and terminals in exchange for the handover of control to Bachagha.
The crucial energy industry is also the focus of a dispute between Mohamad Aoun, the government of Dbeibah’s Minister of Oil and Gas, and the head of the NOC, the preferred liaison for foreign partners.
Aoun has been attempting in vain to dismiss Mr. Sanalla for months. According to a decree that Dbeibah had signed, local media indicated on Wednesday that he had been replaced by banker Farhat Bengdara.
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