Libya oil production at 680,000 barrels per day

Libyan oil production has reached 680,000 barrels per day (bpd), a Libyan oil source said on Thursday, more than a third higher than earlier this month, as the OPEC member seeks to revive its oil industry.

Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) on Monday ended force majeure on the last facilities closed by an eight-month blockade of oil exports by eastern forces.

The blockade in January cut Libyan oil production to around 100,000 bpd from 1.2 million bpd.

The current output level marks a jump from around 500,000 bpd earlier this month.

The NOC said last week it expected oil production to rise to 1 million bpd in a few weeks’ time.

On Thursday, Repsol’s CEO said production at the Sharara oil field, Libya’s largest, is about 160,000 bpd, and expected to rise gradually to 300,000 bpd.

Libya’s growing output has weighed on prices as demand concerns are increased by government restrictions to contain a second wave of the new coronavirus.

Brent and US WTI crude futures were both down more than 5 percent on Thursday, extending another 5 percent loss the previous day.

Higher Libyan output and the weak demand outlook are expected to dominate talks at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies — a group known as OPEC+ — on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

OPEC+ is limiting production by 7.7 million bpd, but is expected to shave around 2 million bpd from the supply curbs from January.

First published on Arab News

United Nations announces launch of Libyan political dialogue

Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Libya, Stephanie Williams, announced on Monday the launch of political consultations between the Libyan parties via video conference within the framework of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum. The direct meeting will begin on November 9.

Williams said – according to a statement issued by the United Nations on Sunday – that the resumption of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum comes at a time when great hope prevails after the signing of the permanent ceasefire agreement throughout Libya on October 23. She indicated that the consultative meetings with several Libyan parties in the previous months facilitated the re-launch of the Libyan Political Forum.

The statement added that the UN mission had invited 75 participants representing all the political and social spectrums of the Libyan society, to participate in the first meeting of the comprehensive Libyan Political Forum via video conference.

The statement indicated that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum is a comprehensive Libyan-Libyan dialogue based on the outcomes of the Berlin Conference on Libya, which was approved by the Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020) and Security Council Resolution 2542 (2020).

Williams noted that the participants in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum were selected from different categories based on the principles of inclusiveness and fair geographical, political, tribal, and social representation.

She explained that the group includes representatives from the Libyan House of Representatives and the High Council of State, in addition to the active political forces outside the two institutions; this coordination takes place in light of the commitment to the participation of women, and youth.

The statement indicated that the first meeting of the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum reviewed the latest developments related to the economic and military tracks, the human rights path, and the international humanitarian law. The participants heard the recommendations of the meetings held by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General with representatives of the Libyan community from the municipalities, as well as women, youth and civil society representatives.

The mission called on all forum participants to shoulder their responsibilities before the Libyan people and to engage constructively and in good faith in the talks, placing Libya and the public interest as a priority.

The mission expressed appreciation for the commitment of the forum participants and the spirit of responsibility and patriotism of those who chose to withdraw from the Forum for Political Dialogue because of their desire to run for executive positions in the preliminary stage, which enhances the transparency and legitimacy of this process.

The statement emphasized that the main goal of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum is to find consensus on a unified executive authority and on the arrangements for holding national elections in the shortest possible time to restore Libyan sovereignty and give democratic legitimacy to Libyan institutions.

In exclusive statements to Egypt Today, Ali al-Takbali, a member of the National Defense and Security Committee in the Libyan Parliament, accused the United Nations Support Mission in Libya of selecting a large number of figures belonging to the political Islam movement.

In turn, Libyan Member of Parliament Ibrahim Al-Dorsi said that the Libyan people are interested in the political dialogue meetings to achieve their aspirations, explaining that no one knows the international mission’s criteria for selecting names to participate in the political dialogue, and no one knows the reasons for the absence of figures with great influence.

Darsi criticized the marginalization of important figures in the eastern region of the country in favour of names that have no influence, ruling out the existence of a clear and specific mechanism for selecting the participating personalities. He stressed that the international mission was supposed to choose the political dialogue committee thoughtfully and not randomly.

Meanwhile, Libyan politician FarajYassin confirmed that most of the participants in the political dialogue meetings are ambiguous, accusing these participants of fueling the Libyan scene, especially those affiliated to the Brotherhood. Yassin further explained that they will not reach satisfactory results unless they are subjected to international pressure, most importantly from the United States.

The Libyan politician indicated that the Libyan military meetings had reached good results that were hindered by the reconciliation government, referring to the crimes of armed militias that destroyed the capabilities of the Libyan people and burnt oil tanks.

Yassin accused the United Nations of following the path of some Western countries that wrongly diagnosed the Libyan case to impose terrorist groups on the political scene.

The delegations of the Military Committee at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, signed a ceasefire agreement on October 23, in the presence of the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-general of the United Nations and the Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Stephanie Williams.

This agreement came as a result of the continuous efforts led by the Egyptian state to reduce tension inside the Libyan territories and achieve peace and security for the Libyan people.

The Cairo meetings in Hurghada and the six military meetings that were held in Cairo during the years 2017 and 2018 paved the way for the signing of the ceasefire agreement in the Swiss city, Geneva.

The success achieved today came as a continuation of the first face-to-face meeting hosted by Egypt in Hurghada late September,” Hafez said, urging the countries involved in the Libyan affairs to contribute to the efforts to ensure the ceasefire.

Previously, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi met with LAAF head, Commander KhalifaHaftar, and Libyan Parliamentary Speaker AguilaSalehin Cairo, to discuss ways to resolve the Libyan crisis. Both Libyan officials emphasized that any initiative to solve the crisis in the war-torn country has to include “the removal of Turkish-backed mercenaries and militias.”

It is worth mentioning that GNA Head Fayez al-Sarraj announced earlier in September his intention to resign by the end of October.

Libya has suffered a severe division between two factions; the Libyan Parliament and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal KhalifaHaftar in the east; and the GNA led by Fayez al-Sarraj. The latter is internationally recognized but is not accepted by the Parliament.

First published on Egypt Today

Egypt and Libya’s roadmap

Egypt is playing a key role in preparation for the anticipated comprehensive talks on Libya, scheduled for October in Geneva, based on the outcomes of the Berlin Conference.

For months, Egypt has been hosting preliminary Libyan meetings, the last of which took place in Hurghada in the attendance of the Libyan security committee charged with the ceasefire, military arrangements to unify the military institution and security apparatuses, and the security arrangements concerning moving the next Libyan government to Sirte, as a temporary capital.

In the near future, Cairo will host other Libyan events, such as that of the constitutional committee, which will draft the framework of Libya’s constitutional document. Libya’s economic committee, delegations from east and west Libya, prime among whom are political, security, and military leaders, figureheads and diplomats from countries involved in the settlement process, and the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSML) will also converge in Cairo.

Egypt’s integral role in drawing a roadmap for the future of Libya post the Skhirat Agreement is a continuation of its efforts in the previous transitional phase, which were hampered by the complex crises Libya has endured since 2016. Flagrant foreign interventions fuelled political conflicts and military clashes during the Tripoli battle. These developments led Egypt to become more careful in dealing with the roots of the Libyan crisis through a set of basic principles based on the lessons learnt in the previous stage. 

These principles include the fair distribution of wealth and power. Moreover, the Cairo Declaration, followed by the Sirte-Jufra announcement concerning the “western military zone”, has put an end to armed clashes between Libyan factions, putting on the table the political path as the only means to settle the crisis.

The UN Security Council, the UNSML, and the US have commended Cairo’s efforts in the Libyan file. The international community’s impression about Cairo’s role in settling the Libyan crisis reflects Egypt’s seriousness and ability to shift the course of events towards the internationally-agreed path – the Berlin Conference outcomes. 

Egypt has been stressing joint coordination, which also reflects it is not seeking to achieve its own interests nor trying to impose a certain political authority on the Libyans. Egypt is seeking agreement between all the Libyan factions to stabilise the country torn by political and armed conflicts for a decade.

Cairo has dedicated all its political, diplomatic, and security resources to support a political settlement for Libya. The Egyptian leadership, represented by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, is paying attention to the minutest details concerning the Libyan file. Cairo has spared no effort, on the Libyan and international stages, to prevent obstacles aiming to hinder the political path.

A number of parties active in the Libyan scene are seeking their own benefits. Cairo doesn’t oppose foreign parties trying to serve their interests in Libya. It objects, however, to the mechanisms they are using to claim their interests, either through moving mercenaries into Libya or being militarily present on the Libyan ground.

This is why Cairo, in coordination with other partners, is endeavouring to end these practices, highlighting this point at every event it hosts on Libya.

Egypt is fully aware its role is not limited to drawing a roadmap for Libya’s future. More important are the implementation of the roadmap’s recommendations and overcoming challenges on the Libyan stage in the next phase.