Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar said on Friday his forces would let oil production resume after an eight-month blockade and a senior politician in Tripoli said a committee would be formed to ensure fair distribution of revenues.
However, National Oil Corporation (NOC), which operates Libya’s energy sector, said overnight it would not lift force majeure on exports until oil facilities were demilitarised.
Libya and many of its state institutions have been split for years between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Haftar’s (LNA in the east.
“It was decided to resume production and export of oil with all the necessary conditions and procedural measures that ensure a fair distribution of its financial revenues,” Haftar said in a televised broadcast.
In Tripoli, the GNA’s deputy prime minister, Ahmed Maiteeg, issued a statement immediately after Haftar’s speech also saying it “had been decided” to resume oil production and adding this would involve a new committee to oversee revenue distribution.
The committee would coordinate between the two sides to prepare a budget and transfer funds to cover payments and deal with the public debt, he said.
GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said on Wednesday he planned to step down by the end of October and analysts have said this would lead to political jockeying among other senior figures in Tripoli to succeed him.
The Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj, announced his decision in a televised speech on Wednesday.
“I declare my sincere desire to hand over my duties to the next executive authority no later than the end of October,” al-Sarraj said, citing “internal and external conspiracies” and other obstacles to the effectiveness of his government.
Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams commended the decision in a statement, saying it “comes at a decisive turning point in Libya’s longstanding crisis when it is clear that the situation is no longer sustainable.”
“The onus is now on concerned Libyan parties to fully shoulder their responsibilities before the Libyan people, to take historic decisions, and to accept mutual concessions for the sake of their country,” Williams said.
Brega Petroleum Marketing company (BPM), the state importing and wholesale fuel distribution institution of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), launched a convoy of fuel trucks to the south of Libya in order to alleviate people’s suffering caused by oil shortage in the region.
According to the BPM’s statement, the overall amount of gasoline sent to the region totals approximately 1,205 million liters, in addition to 174 thousand liters of diesel oil.
“Fuel trucks were sent under surveillance of the BPM and NOC,” read a statement, calling on the local residents in the south to inform of any suspicious activity observed during a convoy movement by reaching out to BPM’s official page on Facebook.
The southern region of the oil-rich country suffers from the lack of oil, gas and other vital necessities as electricity and water supplies that deteriorated living conditions of the locals to worst extent since the breakout of political crisis in Libya in 2011. The situation was also exacerbated by the negative impact triggered by criminal gangs, foreign militants and smugglers widely operating in the area.
Recently, the head of the state-owned NOC Mustafa Sanalla lifted the state of force majeur from the largest oil field in the south El-Sharara that was shut down in early December in 2018 and led to 1,8 billion dollars losses in oil revenues. Lifting the force majeur was preceded by a successful military operation launched by Khalifa Haftar-led LNA. Reports say that the armed forces established control over the entire south region, forcing a large number of foreign militants flee the country through the southern border to Chad.