Thursday, July 28, 2016

Libya to Reopen Two Oil Refineries Despite Threats by Rebel Governments
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban

Guards of oil facilities in Libya announced the reopening of two major oil terminals after six months of closure. The event slated for Friday July 29 follows an agreement reached with the Government of National Unity (GNA).

“The oil terminals at Ras Lanuf (650 km east of Tripoli) and Al-Sedra reopen to begin crude oil exports,” Osama al-Hodeiri, spokesman for Guards of Oil Facilities (GIP) told the AFP on Thursday.

Even if “48% of tanks were damaged, exports will begin on Friday,” despite protests from the National Oil Company (NOC) that wants to reopen the ports without conditions.

Forces loyal to the rebel government in eastern Libya on Tuesday threatened to disrupt any oil consignment that would approach the Libyan coast for a transaction with the GNA.

These two terminals with a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) and 500,000 bpd, have been closed since January 2016, their tanks were set ablaze by attacks from the insurgent Islamic State (IS) group.

The agreement was reached after several members of the presidential council of the GNA moved to Ras Lanuf and accepted the terms of the GIP, Mr. Hodeiri said.

The guards claimed that the GNA pay their salaries and ensures that revenues from exports are properly partitioned. They further requested the construction of hospitals and schools in the area called the “Crescent Petroleum” including Ras Lanuf that hosts the largest refinery of the country.

“A shipment of 400,000 barrels was exported on Tuesday from Marsa Brega to Italy,” said Mr. Hodeiri. This terminal located in the east had not been closed.

The Libyan energy sector is managed by the NOC which split into two rival branches. They had announced their merger on July 3, a move which has still not been implemented.

Oil production in Libya, which has the largest oil reserves in Africa is estimated at 48 billion barrels. It however slumped from 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to 300,000 bpd in the aftermath of the fall of the government of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

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