The civil war in Libya continues to hold the country’s oil sector hostage. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of instructing military commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to reimpose a blockade on the country’s oil output and exports.
Libyan oil exports restarted on 10 July with the loading of the first oil tanker Kriti Bastion at Es Sider in six months. NOC declared force majeure on all crude exports on July 12, a day after the LNA re-instated an oil blockade. NOC announced a halt to the oil production and export referring to a recent statement by forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar claiming they want a fair distribution of the oil revenues managed by Tripoli and was forced to declare force majeure on all oil exports to limit its contractual liabilities.
In a statement, “NOC condemns unreservedly the renewed blockade on Libyan oil export and call for the states responsible to be held to account by the United Nations Security Council. NOC has been informed that the instruction to shut down production were given to Khalifa Hafter’s armed forces (KHAF) by the United Arab Emirates.”
“Wagner and Syrian mercenaries now occupy Es Sider oil port and Wagner and Sudanese mercenaries are camped within the vicinity of the Sharara oil field, preventing Libyan oil from flowing,” NOC said. NOC urges all mercenaries to withdraw from Libyan oil facilities.
“If these efforts fail, as it appears they will, there must be consequences for the actions of the handful of states that are undermining the rules-based international order and destroying Libya. They pose a grave threat to Libyan and global security” NOC noted.
With Africa’s largest oil reserves, Libya can produce 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day. Libya is also the third-largest oil-producing nation in Africa. Oil and Gas represent 95% of its export earnings and 60% of its GDP. Since the blockade began the country has lost more than $6.5 billion in revenue from lost production.
Nine years after the US-led NATO military intervention in Libya against Colonel Gaddafi, the country remains a fractured state, ravaged by civil war and terrorism. Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army is backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russia; also receive support from France, Saudi Arabia and Greece. The government in Tripoli is backed by Turkey and Qatar.