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Army forces closure of eastern oil ports in Libya

Libyan National Army (LNA) members, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, head out towards Tripoli © REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

PortandTerminal.com, January 18, 2020

Libyan National Oil Corporation declares ‘state of emergency’ after Haftar’s forces close eastern oil ports

BENGHAZI, LIBYA – Libya’s national oil company has declared a “state of emergency” after exports of its oil from the ports in the eastern part of the country were blocked by forces loyal to the Libyan National Army’s General Khalifa Haftar.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard – a militia that controls major export terminals in eastern Libya – has ordered local subsidiaries of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), who run them, to cease all operations, the firm said in a statement.

The move makes any export of oil from Libya impossible, the company then warned, adding that it would lead to losses in crude oil production amounting to 800,000 barrels per day, as well as daily financial losses estimated at about $55 million.

This latest incident falls on the heels of the LNA’s seizure of a Grimaldi car-carrier earlier in the week. Libya is in the midst of a political meltdown following the toppling and brutal killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011. There is no real national government but rather three centres of regional power with varying degrees of influence.

READ: Libyan National Army seizes GRIMALDI car carrier and sails it to Benghazi

The closing of Eastern oil ports will result in Libya’s oil out reducing by almost 50%. It is likely that the LNA is attempting to escalate tensions prior to the upcoming Berlin Summit, and control of oil terminals will likely be a point of leverage within the discussions. It is a realistic possibility that Eastern oil terminals will remain closed in the short term, however, this is likely to change if both sides find a resolution to their grievances in Berlin.

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