Parallel Eastern Brega Company Established as NOC comes under pressure
On 17 September, the parallel eastern government in al-Bayda and eastern members of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) subsidiary Brega Petroleum Marketing Company (BPMC) attempted to split from the NOC in Tripoli, establishing a rival BPMC in the East. According to Salam al-Badri, a deputy prime minister in the eastern government, the move was in response to the Tripoli based authorities not sending sufficient fuel supplies to areas under its control. On 19 September, the NOC issued a statement condemning attempts to divide the BMPC and rejecting what it cited as “false allegations” that fuel supplies to the Eastern region are inadequate. It criticised attempts to “misinform the public” about fuel supply and to portray the NOC as taking sides in the conflict. On 22 September, the Ambassadors and Charge d’Affaires of the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the UAE and Turkey signed a joint statement reiterating their exclusive support for the NOC as the country’s “sole independent, legitimate and nonpartisan oil company.” They stressed that now is the time to consolidate national economic institutions rather than break them apart
Despite NOC Chairman Sanallah frequently and repeatedly stressing the neutrality of the NOC and the importance of it retaining monopoly over Libya’s oil sector, the escalating conflict and deepening polarisation within the country are making it increasingly difficult for the NOC to remain above the division. Although it remains unlikely that the eastern NOC or other institutions will succeed in selling crude independently of the NOC in the short term, international legislation around the sale and distribution of refined fuel in Libya isfar lessstringent than for crude and therefore it is possible that the rival BMPC would be able to act independently. This could lead to eastern-based subsidiaries such as AGOCO and Sirte Oil selling or distributing the fuel from their refineries directly to the eastern BMPC instead of via the NOC, or the eastern BMPC importing fuel directly from external sources – though this is less likely given the LNA and the eastern institutions are short of funds.