Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) announced that export operations at the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil terminals have resumed following a blockade.
On Wednesday, it was stated that operations had also returned to normal at the oil terminal in Hariga after protesters had ended their blockade.
Protesters at the two ports and another, Hariga, had blocked exports since last week and demanded jobs for locals. NOC said on Wednesday that operations had also resumed in Hariga.
A company statement said NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla had held talks with local elders who had helped end the protests.
Security issues in Libya, where a fragile peace process has installed a unity government, have repeatedly threatened to undermine oil production, which has peaked at 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) this year.
Last year, forces loyal to Putist General Khalifa Haftar blocked the main oil terminals in eastern Libya the day before a summit in Berlin on January 19, 2020, and almost completely halted Libyan oil production for months.
Oil production has fallen by about three quarters since Haftar began a blockade. The blockade has also shut down revenues for government institutions operating across the country. In September 2020, Haftar agreed to lift the blockade, which NOC has estimated resulted in lost revenue of $ 10 billion.
The putschist general was also accused of selling Libyan oil through illegal companies.
According to sources who spoke to the Ihlas News Agency (IHA), Haftar signed an illegal agreement, without ignoring the NOC, to monopolize the oil sector in the country for 10 years and form a parallel company.
NOC is officially responsible for the extraction, processing, distribution and export of oil in Libya, while oil extracted from the region under the control of Haftar’s forces must be operated by the Brega oil complex in eastern Libya.
The sources also claimed that Haftar’s illegal company would sell the oil through the sea to another company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Oil is the cornerstone of the Libyan economy and the country’s only real source of income. Libya is currently governed by an interim government consisting of a three-member presidential council and a cabinet. Its appointment in February during a UN-led process has revived hopes for stability in oil-rich Libya. The government is tasked with leading the country to general elections in December 2021.
For years, the NOC has maintained its independence from Libya’s warring political actors and enjoyed the support of the international community. However, the NOC has recently encountered attempts by the new interim government to step on its lawn.