The future of Libya’s crude oil exports has been plunged into even greater uncertainty with a rift opening between the National Oil Corporation and the so-called Libyan National Army over which controls the key eastern oil export terminals only recently recaptured from a renegade militia. * Libyan National Army hands over control to rival authority
* NOC had planned to restart Ras Lanuf, Es Sider shipments
* NOC claims sole authority over exports, warns buyers to stay away
The LNA handed control of the ports over to a parallel oil authority on Monday, opening a new set of risks for buyers of the country’s crude, just as they were hopeful of an improvement following the recapture of the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider oil terminals. The handover of the ports to the eastern NOC is a major shift in policy from the LNA. Led by Khalifa Haftar, the LNA controls most of eastern Libya and backs a parallel government in Tobruk.
But he has supported the internationally recognized NOC based in Tripoli for the last two years. The uneasy accord between the LNA and NOC had been a key factor in allowing Libya to raise its crude oil production to stabilize at around 1 million b/d. But that now seems to have fallen apart. “NOC in Tripoli is ignoring the eastern forces which are securing the oil crescent after they lost about 200 personnel due to attacks,” a spokesman was quoted saying in the Libya Observer. The NOC said late Monday it dismissed the LNA’s legal authority to determine control of the ports. Nevertheless, the LNA announcement is a major blow to the NOC which had hoped to quickly restart exports following the recapture of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider last week from the Petroleum Facilities Guards.
“The LNA has no legal authority to determine control of oil exports from Libya, and any attempt to do so would transgress UN Security Council resolutions, and domestic Libyan law and penal code,” NOC said in a statement emailed to S&P Global Platts.