Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) has warned that it may call force majeure on its Gulf of Sirte loadings within the next 72 hours.
Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said this would happen unless “production and shipping” at the Sirte ports resumed. “We call on all parties to be wise, give priority to the interest of the country, allow oil to flow and not to be dragged behind calls for escalation, and we urge adherence to Libya’s sovereignty.”
Power plants, desalination and other strategic facilities depend on continued oil production, the chairman said. This stems partly from oil swaps for fuel, a move that became necessary as the “Central Bank of Libya [CBL] and the Ministry of Finance stopped feeding the hydrocarbon account six months ago”, Sanalla said.
Oil exports have fallen, he continued. “We cannot meet the demand for fuel in the coming weeks”, he said, with no funds available for General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) to buy liquid fuel.
Political opposition in Tripoli, Sanalla said, compounded the local pressures in Sirte. Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh appeared to endorse a proposal to reorganise NOC’s board, last week. Such a move would call into question Sanalla’s future.
“The government is responsible for the sovereignty of its institutions,” the chairman said. There should be no tolerance for “any individual, minister or anyone who politicises the oil sector or uses it as a tool for any negotiations, bargaining or settlements”.
Libyan stability, he continued, stems from the management of its resources. Sanalla welcomed commitments from abroad supporting transparency in the resource sector.
Sanalla has clashed repeatedly with Minister of Oil Mohamed Oun. The minister, last week, appeared to have won Dbeibeh over in his calls for a reorganisation at NOC.
Most recently, Oun has alleged that Sanalla has withheld daily reports on oil and gas production.
Sanalla has been busy in meeting various factions.
Last week he held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Ramadan Abu Janah, along with a delegation from northwest region Zintan. On June 26, Sanalla met representatives from the eastern tribes.