An oil rig is shown in this file photo.
An oil rig is shown in this file photo.

Libyan officials warn that shutting down oil production will create chaos

By Mel Frykberg Time of article published Jun 24, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG – Officials from the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) have warned that recent calls for a shutdown of Libya’s national oil production could disrupt the inflow of much needed foreign revenue and create further division in the North African country.

NOC warned in a weekend statement that oil production must remain de-politicised and uninterrupted to ensure that basic fundamental services are financed and continue to be provided to citizens across the country, the Libya Observer reported on Monday.

"Any deliberate disruption of oil sector operations will severely impact national revenue streams, potentially render NOC in contravention of contractual obligations, and create further division in the country," the statement read.

It added that admissions of attempts to export oil illegally, in contravention of international law and UN Security Council resolutions, should also be condemned.

The release of the statement followed speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk, Aquilah Saleh, threatening in a TV interview to shut down oil production, saying Libyan oil revenues end up at the Tripoli-based Central Bank which uses it to buy weapons.

The HoR is a rival government based in Tobruk in the east of Libya which opposes the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) seated in the capital Tripoli in the west.

Forces from the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), loyal to renegade General Khalifa Hafter and supportive of the HoR, invaded Tripoli at the beginning of April in an attempt to overthrow the GNA and defeat its troops as the two rival governments jockey for control of Libya.

The fighting, which has killed hundreds and displaced thousands, has reached a stalemate with neither the LNA or GNA forces able to assert full control and authority.

The NOC, meanwhile, has said it continues to call for economic transparency - including the equitable distribution of oil revenues nationally - to be embraced by all parties as an integral element of Libya’s future stability, and any lasting political settlement.

Since former leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in the wake of the 2011 Libyan revolution during the Arab Spring with the support of Nato the country has battled civil unrest, political instability and continuing chaos.

-       African News Agency (ANA)

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