Libyan exports appear to be restarting following the appointment of a new chairman to state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC).
New man at NOC Farhat Bengdara held talks with Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh at the company’s headquarters on July 17.
The same day, NOC announced that force majeure had been lifted on all fields and terminals in the country. A tanker, the Iblea, entered the Brega terminal and began loading condensate. At the time of going to press the vessel is still in the port.
There have been no reports of other tankers loading, despite the lifting of force majeure.
Dbeibeh, speaking with top NOC officials, said the decision to change the company’s board was not a political move. There was no outside intervention in the decision, the prime minister said. The previous NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, had alleged Dbeibeh orchestrated changes at the company in order to benefit the United Arab Emirates.
“We trust in the ability of the new Chairman and members of the Board of Directors of the Corporation to advance the oil sector,” the premier said.
He went on to say salaries for oil sector workers would increase in August. NOC reported that the government would salaries to workers that had not been received for years.
Resuming oil exports would help tackle the power crisis, he continued. Indeed power producer General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) reported the first unit at the West Tripoli power plant had resumed operations.
Sanalla had said the western Government of National Unity (GNU) lacked the authority to remove him. He has launched a legal claim in an effort to take back control of NOC.
In addition to holding talks with the prime minister, Bengdara also took time to hold discussions with Arabian Gulf Oil Co. (Agoco), which is based in the east, in areas controlled by the House of Representatives (HoR).
Bengdara welcomed Agoco’s restarting of production and pledged to respect deals struck with foreign companies.
Agoco chairman Salah Al-Qtarani said the company was in an “extremely difficult financial condition” in his talks with the new NOC head. As a result, Agoco cannot meet its obligations.
Waha Oil had initially expressed support for the new NOC board and director but the company then removed the statement. Waha Oil then said it had fired its communications head.
“It is not within our powers to talk about the sovereign decisions issued by the Libyan state, and we are committed to working with those who have the capacity,” the company said.
The new NOC board has launched a new Twitter feed, in competition with the old Twitter feed, which has messages both in support of Sanalla but also Bengdara’s meeting with the prime minister. Both claim to be the official account.