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Libyan oil exports may be set to restart as warring factions agree deal

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 21 Sep 2020

Libyan oil exports may be set to restart as warring factions agree deal

(Sharecast News) - Libyan oil production and exports from the east of the country are set to restart following a conditional lifting of the blockade imposed by the Libyan National Army under the command of Khalifa Haftar.

The announcement of 19 September followed talks between Ahmed Maiteeg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the internationally-recognised GNA government in western Libya and Haftar's son in Sochi, Russia.

In January, Haftar shut down the Libyan oilfields and export terminals under his control, resulting in a sharp reduction in crude oil output from the Mediterranean country from approximately 1.0m barrels a day to roughly 100,000 b/d.

The condition placed by Haftar on any resumption was that the proceeds from exports would be distributed "fairly" between his own government and that of the GNA.

Haftar said the move was also in response to the "deterioration in living conditions" throughout Libya.

According to the country's still-independent National Oil Corporation, the blockade by Haftar's forces had led to the loss of over $9.8bn in revenues and power and fuel shortages.

As well, NOC said that 'force majeure' on its exports would not be lifted until its facilities were demilitarised, referring to LNA and allegedly Russian mercenaries.

Libya has been in a civil war since 2011, when what seemed like a 'popular uprising', with the help of French, UK and US airstrikes co-ordinated through NATO, toppled the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, who had ruled the country for more than 40 years.

On 18 September, GNA Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, said he would step down by the end of October in order to facilitate peace talks with the GNA, reportedly angering Ankara, one of the GNA's main backers.

Furthermore, Maiteeg was reportedly forced to cancel a follow-up press conference under pressure from the families of GNA fighters who had been killed during the conflict while the UN was said to be waiting for the NOC's decision regarding force majeure.

There were also doubts as to how quickly or not the country's ageing energy infrastructure could be brought back online.

As of 1613 BST, Brent crude oil futures for November delivery were trading down by 4.1% to $41.39 a barrel on the ICE.

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