Libyan Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohamed Aoun, issued a decision, on 24 August, appointing Jadallah Al-Awkali, a member of the National Oil Corporation’s (NOC) management, as the Chairman of the Corporation’s Board of Directors. This is reportedly due to the absence of Mustafa Sanalla, the NOC Head, from work.
However, Al-Awkali sent a letter to Aoun informing him that he was unable to take up his position, as Sanalla informed his office manager that he is continuing his work from outside the country.
This has resulted in Al-Awkali attempting to distance himself from the decision, to avoid disrupting the work of the NOC, amidst the ongoing confusion.
Notably, the Oil Minister recently asked Prime Minister, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba, to change the NOC’s board, including the long-standing Chairman.
Aoun said a change was needed as soon as possible because the current board was formed in a way that was incompatible with the laws of Libya. Taher Al-Qahtani was the recommendation put forward by the minister in the letter.
Tensions have been mounting between Sanalla and Aoun since March, when the oil ministry was set up by the Government of National Unity (GNU). An elected administration is set to succeed the GNU after nationwide elections in December, although delays in establishing a legal framework have raised doubts about whether the vote will go ahead.
Relations between the two men have gradually deteriorated because of an overlap in the jurisdictions of their respective institutions. Before the GNU was set up, the NOC had assumed some oil ministry duties in the absence of a unified ministry.
For years, Sanalla represented Libya’s interests at OPEC ministerial meetings, a mantle that has now been passed to Aoun. Sanalla also brokered exploration and production partnerships with foreign oil companies, and had become the point of contact for Libyan crude term supply contracts.
The original article written by Argus Media Group, 2021 can be found here