Libya’s NOC expects to regain Es Sider, Ras Lanuf oil ports

The oil port of Es Sider, Libya on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Updated 19 March 2017

Libya’s NOC expects to regain Es Sider, Ras Lanuf oil ports

TUNIS: Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has been coordinating with military forces from eastern Libya and has “no reason to believe” it will not regain control of the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil ports, NOC’s chairman said.
The loss and recapture of the ports this month by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) had raised doubts over its willingness to let the Tripoli-based NOC manage the ports.
Revenue from the sites is controlled by a central bank and UN-backed government in the capital which pro-LNA factions oppose.
Eastern officials accuse rivals in Tripoli and the western city of Misrata of supporting a March 3 attack on the ports by a faction known as the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB).
An oil guard commander appointed by the UN-backed government was deployed to secure them.
After they were retaken, the head of a Benghazi NOC office appointed by Libya’s eastern government said he was pulling out of an NOC unification deal signed in July and an LNA spokesman said there would be no immediate decision on a handover.
But in written responses provided to Reuters, Mustafa Sanalla, the Tripoli-based NOC chairman, said his staff had already been working with the LNA.
“We have been coordinating our assessment of the facilities with them,” Sanalla said, in his first public comments since the ports were retaken.
“We have no reason to believe control of the ports will not be handed back to NOC.”
Es Sider and Ras Lanuf have a combined potential capacity of 600,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Operations there and at two other ports southwest of Benghazi are crucial to the NOC’s efforts to revive Libya’s output, which has been crippled by years of conflict and political chaos.
The LNA took over the ports in September, ending a two-year blockade at three of them and quickly inviting the NOC to resume exports.
Es Sider and Ras Lanuf were badly damaged in previous rounds of fighting and have been operating well below normal levels. The latest clashes, which included ground battles and more than a week of LNA air strikes, had dented the LNA’s claim it could defend the ports and led to fears that facilities would suffer further damage.
But Waha Oil Company resumed pumping to Es Sider on Saturday and Sanalla said the NOC had decided to restart operations at the ports based on technical assessments and a review by military engineers.
“For the most part, the facilities are not damaged. In one or two locations, some work needs to be done by the military engineers. Our workers are returning to their terminals gradually.”
Reuters journalists observed little apparent additional damage to the ports during a visit on Thursday.
An engineer at the Waha oil field said on Sunday it was pumping 25,000 bpd to Es Sider as it restarted production, which stood at 75,000 bpd before the clashes.
Sanalla said the NOC was hoping to raise overall production to 800,000 bpd by the end of April from 611,000 bpd currently.
Libya along with Nigeria has been exempted from production cuts recently agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
However, any gains in Libya remain fragile as long as the political turmoil that has fractured the country since its 2011 uprising continues.
Oil accounts for nearly all of Libya’s income and pipelines and ports have been repeatedly blockaded by local groups seeking political and financial gain.
Eastern authorities have attempted to sell oil independently, but have been blocked by international sanctions which remain in place.
Oil facilities are protected by the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) but PFG units often operate independently or for a particular political faction.
Sanalla said a neutral PFG should have a role, “but under the authority and real management of NOC.”
“Putting the PFG under the NOC would, we think, go a long way to removing Libya’s oil assets as an object of military competition,” he said.
“Unless oil assets are taken off the table as an object of conflict, unless the oil industry is ring-fenced from our political conflict, then the possibility of more fighting remains.”

Yemeni Vice President: Victory is just around the corner from Sanaa

Updated 11 min 30 sec ago

Yemeni Vice President: Victory is just around the corner from Sanaa

  • Mohsen reiterated that the Yemeni government led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Arab coalition are determined to restore legitimacy and establish lasting peace
  • Meanwhile President Hadi had a meeting with senior officials in Hodeidah to discuss the situation there

Yemen’s Vice President, Lieutenant-General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar said that the capital Sanaa will be “cleansed of the Houthi militias,” Saudi state TV Al-Ekhbariya reported on Monday.

The vice president’s statemen came during a meeting with senior Yemeni army officials in Marib that was attended by the commander of the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces.

During the meeting, Al-Ahmar claimed that “victory was just around the corner” and that Sanaa would return to its Yemeni identity, stressing the need to redouble efforts, intensify training and rehabilitation and complete military tasks and plans.

Mohsen reiterated that the Yemeni government led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Arab coalition are determined to restore legitimacy and establish lasting peace.

During the meeting, according to the official Yemeni news agency, developments in the field and the status of military units were discussed.

‘Imminent liberation’

Meanwhile Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi had a meeting with senior officials and security leaders in Hodeidah on Sunday to discuss the situation there. The president discussed plans to arrange for humanitarian and relief aid to be delivered, along with preparations for a decisive solution in the battle to liberate the port city.

Hadi said that the liberation of Hodeidah was imminent and that the Iran-backed Houthi militia will soon be put to an end.

Hadi also stressed the importance of increased efforts by the leadership of the province and managers of basic services for the people.

He called on ministers to provide the necessary support for the people of the province in terms of logistics, relief, health and other fields.

Efforts are being made to provide relief and shelter for all areas of the west coast with the support of the KSRelief, the UAE and international organizations. Two planes loaded with relief supplies from KSRelief are expected to arrive with various supplies.

The Minister of Health, Nasser Baoum, said that 50 hospital beds were transferred to a field hospital in the west coast and a number of ambulances with their crews, in addition to medical supplies provided from China and India.

Minister of Water and the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor discussed a number of measures to ensure the continuity and provision of basic water and tents services.