The brewing war for Libya’s oil revenues
The Central Bank and National Oil Cooperation continue to war over revenues, diplomats fear another blockade
Recently, the National Oil Cooperation has taken the unexpected step of denying the Central Bank of Libya access to any oil revenue, the move was stated to be for the sake of guarding the country’s oil recovery and the protection of the revenue against being mishandled.
The looming concern is that retired General Khalifa Hafter will re-impose a blockade on the country’s oil facilities as he had earlier this year, costing the nation nothing short of 11 billion dollars according to the NOC and shrinking the oil production to a depressing 90 thousand barrels-per-day.
In late September on condition that a new commission is formed to decide how oil revenues are spent, the eight-month restrictions on fields and ports were lifted and production started once again, skyrocketing to an unexpected 1.2 million barrels per day in just months.
Progress is now jeopardized as Libya’s rival House of Representatives from Tobruk and Tripoli have failed to agree on a new revenue-sharing commission. An agreement that could be months away and diplomats fear that General Hafter and his forces may lose patience.
The GNA and NOC are now telling the General that there is no need to impose a blockade on the fields because oil funds will remain frozen in the Libyan Foreign Bank (LFB) until a fair revenue sharing commission is in place.
Foreign buyers are unaffected by this move as they continue to pay for the oil through the LFB however, the Central Bank of Libya has asserted that freezing the oil assets is illegal and promised to take action against it in the courts.
In a statement on its website the Cental Bank accused the oil cooperation of being responsible for a missing 1.8 billion dollars, the NOC issued an official denial hours after, claiming that the CBL is misleading the public and is in crumbling fragmented state.
Just a day later, unknown militants attempted to take control of the NOC’s headquarters, a reminder of the fragile state the restored oil exports are, but disaster was avoided when the Petroleum Facilities Guard arrived on the scene with reinforcement and curbed the attack without any casualties.
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