NOC confirms force majeure remains in place on Oil Crescent, denies any oil deal would involve opening new international bank accounts
On 1 July, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed the continuation of force majeure on Hariga, Brega, Zueitina, Sidra and Ras Lanuf ports. However, it confirmed that on 20 June it had issued instructions to all operating companies to start preparing for the resumption of operations, in light of ‘ongoing negotiations between the Government of National Accord (GNA), NOC and regional countries who stand behind this blockade.’ It added that an oil tanker is en route to Sidra port ready to begin loading crude oil that is stored in the port tanks once a deal is agreed but stressed that the ‘inactions and delays’ continue.
The NOC went on to categorically deny that the current international negotiations about the resumption of oil production in Libya would involve opening new bank accounts and distributing those revenues to three regions by percentage. NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah explained that the current framework of negotiations is limited to the resumption of production and involves the oil revenues being ‘preserved’ while two further dialogue tracks are established to seek a longer-term solution to the oil crisis. According to the NOC, one will focus on financial transparency and social justice, the other on restructuring security arrangements at oil facilities. However, reports on 8 July indicated that the NOC failed in its attempt to force the resumption of oil exports from Sidra.
The UN and US likely see the resumption of oil production, even under temporary terms, as the starting point for a broader, more permanent political settlement with buy in from rival Libyan actors as well as rival foreign supporters. However, a key issue with the NOC’s plan is the concept that a solution to the issue of how to fairly distribute oil revenues and ensure the long-term security of Libya’s oil facilities could be found within 4 months given the issue of who controls strategic locations and who controls the country’s wealth have been two of the main factors driving both the current conflict and the broader political instability in Libya for the last decade.