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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Al-Sarraj's Government Says Libyan Oil Should Keep Away from Political Disputes


Abdelsattar Ibrahim

Sat, 09 Feb 2019 13:00 GMT

The spokesperson for Libya's government of national accord (GNA), Mohamed el-Salak, told 7Dnews that his government seeks to keep Libya's oil free from politics.

This statement comes after the rival force of the Libyan national army, under General Khalifa Haftar, took control of the important El Sharara oil field in Murzuq basin, in the south-west of the country.

The Murzuq basin produces about 350,000 barrels per day, of which about 300,000 barrels are from El Sharara, out of about 1.6 million barrels per day, the total target export of all fields at the same rate as before 2011.

Libya's two rival leaders, Tripoli-based UN-backed prime minister Fayez El Sarraj, and General Khalifa Hafter, in Libya's east, are both competing for control of the oil-rich country. Haftar's forces dominate the oil fields and export ports in eastern Libya. The army has been invading large areas of south western Libya, including the Murzuq basin, since early this month.

Spokesperson El-Salak stressed that exporting oil from El Sharara will be the same as from oilfields and ports under the control of the army led by Haftar.

"The fields and ports remain under the management of the national oil corporation (NOC), which is recognized internationally and is based in Tripoli, said el-Salak.

The NOC, headed by Mustafa Sanalla, is responsible for selling oil in foreign markets, and depositing the proceeds in the central bank of Libya, which in turn distributes funds to the rival governments in the west and east of the country, to the government headed by al-Sarraj in the west, and the interim government in the eastern city of Al Bayda.

Oil is the most important provider of revenue stream for Libya, with export revenues accounting for more than 90% of the budget. The national army control on El Sharara, after their control over the eastern Sirte fields, means that more political pressure internally and internationally is exerted.

The Libyan political analyst, Ibrahim Belkasem told 7Dnews that Libya is a rentier state largely dependent on oil revenues, so those who control the oil effectively control Libya.

For his part, el-Salak said that the oilfields of eastern Libya, which are now under the national army control, is managed by the NOC in the capital. "This will extend to all fields, so we are working to keep ports and oil fields, wealth sources, and Libyans livelihood, away from political differences."

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