NOC to export first shipment after lifting of 7-month blockade

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Libya’s state National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that it was preparing to load its first shipment of condensates from its Brega oil port. Oil exports had been halted for 219 days.

The NOC reported that today, the oil tanker Valle Di Siviglia arrived at dawn at the eastern Libyan port of Brega, at its request.

It said the tanker will ship 30,000 tons of condensate stored in the port to free up adequate storage capacity to enable the continuation of natural gas production at its current levels of around 160 million cubic feet per day.

This, it added, will lessen the current number and severity of power cuts. However, it will not entirely solve the problem, given that the natural gas needs of the Zueitina and North Benghazi power plants are estimated at around 250 million cubic feet per day, the NOC explained.

It explained that it is not able to provide this quantity of gas due to the illegal blockade of its oil facilities and its lack of a budget to import fuels. Fuel for local markets has been seriously depleted as a result, it added.

Furthermore, the NOC said that pro-Khalifa Hafter Libyan National Army (LNA) forces blockading the oil fields that supply the Zawiya refinery have refused to re-pump crude oil so that the refinery is struggling to meet the deficit, provide fuel for local consumption or access state funds to import fuel.

NOC Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla said: “The blockade has caused great suffering to Libyan citizens, negatively impacting all aspects of life. Electricity blackouts in the eastern region due to lack of gas is one of those effects. NOC is continuing to make every effort to alleviate the suffering of Libyans in all parts of the country. We reiterate our calls to end the illegal blockade of our facilities so that we can do our job and meet local fuel consumption needs”.

It will be recalled that, ostensibly, tribal supporters of Khalifa Hafter in the eastern Libyan oil crescent blockaded oil ports preventing Libya from exporting its production on 18 January – the eve of the Berlin conference on Libya. Other fields in other areas were also shut down.

The blockade has cost Libya nearly US$ 9 bn. The internationally recognized government in Tripoli has always blamed the blockade directly on Khalifa Hafter, rather than local tribes.

Indeed, when the partial lifting of the blockade was announced on 18 August, the head of the eastern-based and Khalifa Hafter-aligned Petroleum Facilities Guards (PFG), Naji Moghrabi, announced in a televised address that there will be a partial lifting the blockade on the export of oil and gas, he said that this was being done upon instructions from Khalifa Hafter.