US calls for immediate resumption of Libya oil operations

Pipelines and a loading berth in the Port of Marsa al Hariga at Tobruk, Libya. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 January 2020

US calls for immediate resumption of Libya oil operations

  • Haftar’s forces, at war with fighters loyal to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, blocked oil exports from Libya’s main ports on Saturday
  • The action has suspended operations from Libya’s oil crescent, blocking several export terminals including Brega, Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra ports

TRIPOLI: The United States called Tuesday for an immediate resumption of Libya’s lifeline oil exports that have been blocked by forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar since last week.
“The suspension of National Oil Corporation (NOC) operations risks exacerbating the humanitarian emergency in #Libya and inflicting further needless suffering on the Libyan people,” the US embassy in Tripoli tweeted.
“NOC operations should resume immediately,” it said.
Haftar’s forces, at war with fighters loyal to the UN-recognized Government of National Accord, blocked oil exports from Libya’s main ports on Saturday, a day before an international peace conference.
The move to cripple the country’s main income source was a protest against Turkey’s decision to send troops to shore up Haftar’s rivals.
The action has suspended operations from Libya’s “oil crescent,” blocking several export terminals including Brega, Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra ports.
“The storage capacity of these ports is limited and the NOC will be obliged to put a complete halt to crude production once maximum capacity has been reached,” the oil company said Monday.
The NOC said Libya’s daily crude output of 1.3 million barrels a day would be virtually wiped out, translating into losses of $77 million a day.
According to industry experts, Washington also opposes the suspension of Libyan crude exports because of the impact on the world oil market.
Hamish Kinnear, an analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, said Haftar’s action was a “blunt reminder” that his forces control most of Libya’s oil and gas resources.
“The fact that the shutdown coincided with the Berlin conference, a high-level Libya peace summit... is no coincidence,” he said.
“By shutting the fields, Haftar was making it clear that he holds a veto over any proposed cease-fire agreement or eventual political agreement.”
World leaders at the Berlin conference, in a final declaration on Sunday, said they opposed “hostilities against all oil facilities and infrastructure” in Libya.
The oil-rich North African country has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi and toppled his regime.


The Middle East implements measures to combat deadly coronavirus

Updated 23 min 5 sec ago

The Middle East implements measures to combat deadly coronavirus

  • Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has started an evacuation plan for Bahraini nationals in Iran

DUBAI: Coronavirus has been widely spreading in the Middle East during the past week with Iran recording the highest number of infections and deaths in the region.

Countries in the Middle East are currently taking extraordinary steps to prevent the growing coronavirus outbreak.

00:51 – Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has started an evacuation plan for Bahraini nationals in Iran including screening and quarantine procedures. The Ministry called on all Bahrainis to register their details by calling: +97317227555

(Developing)