Libya's Main Oil Terminals Reopen

Tank fire after fighting at Ras Lanuf, June 2018 (Amer Hammuda / Twitter)

By The Maritime Executive 2018-07-12 19:08:15

The National Oil Corporation of the Tripoli-based government of Libya announced Wednesday that it has regained control of the oil terminals at Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Hariga and Zuetina. NOC staff have returned to the facilities after a hand-off from forces aligned with Khalifa Haftar, a militia leader who controls the eastern half of Libya's coast. 

Export loading has resumed at Hariga, and operations at Zuetina were expected to restart quickly. However, the terminals at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf suffered varying degrees of damage in fighting between the LNA and a competing militia last month, and they may take longer to resume loadings. Reuters reports that only four out of 13 storage tanks at Ras Lanuf remain operational. 

In a statement, the NOC thanked Haftar's Libyan National Army for "putting the national interest first" and returning the terminals to Tripoli's control. It also gave its thanks to international partners - including France - for working to help resolve the crisis.

The Libyan National Army contends that some of the oil revenue flowing from the NOC to the Libyan government is diverted to fund rival militias. To protest this alleged financing arrangement, the LNA took control of the export terminals - which handle most of the nation's output of about one million bpd - for the benefit of its own, separately administered National Oil Corporation. 

As a long-term solution to the conflict, the Tripoli-based NOC called for increased transparency on the distribution and use of revenues from oil, which is the nation's primary export commodity. “We need a proper national debate on the fair distribution of oil revenues. It is at the heart of the recent crisis. The real solution is transparency, so I renew my call on the responsible authorities, the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank, to publish budgets and detailed public expenditure," said NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla. 

El-Feel field resumes production

In addition, NOC said Thursday that it has lifted force majeure at the El-Feel (Elephant) oil field, which had been shut since February. The closure was caused by a dispute with the local Petroleum Facilities Guards' militia over pay and benefits, the NOC said in a statement. The company expects that production from the field will return to about 75,000 bpd within three days.