Libya’s Oil Ministry Denounces NOC Decision

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Libya’s Ministry of Oil and Gas stated that stopping the export of oil was, “a prejudice to national security and tampered with the capabilities of the Libyan people.”

This is in response to the National Oil Corporation’s (NOC) announcement that it would stop the export of oil from Libyan ports due to bad weather conditions. The ministry stated that these technical matters are dealt with by the port administrations, and offshore platforms.

It stated that the National Meteorological Center bulletin issued this morning does not state that there is any warning of a change in weather conditions. The center added that the wind speed did not exceed 20 knots, and the wave height did not exceed 2.50 meters at maximum.

The Ministry added that the suspension of exports came without prior warning or coordination. “There is no need to stop exports, especially as the price of crude oil reached nearly $120 per barrel,” the Ministry said.

In January, Libya’s NOC announced that the country’s revenues of oil and gas exports reached more than $21.5 billion in 2021, the highest level in five years.

The state-run NOC said that the total net revenue for oil and gas exports last year amounted to $21.5 billion dollars, as well as €30 million euros in non-dollar sales.

It added that the record levels were achieved in November and December, raising a combined $4.3 billion in the two last months of 2021.

“The end of the year 2021 recorded a recovery, and oil prices achieved their largest annual gains since 2016, driven by the recovery of the global economy from the state of stagnation due to the coronavirus epidemic,” NOC Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla said.

Since the 1970’s, Libya, which sits on the largest known oil reserves in Africa, has been heavily dependent on revenues from its hydrocarbon exports.

However, in a decade of violence since the 2011 revolt that overthrew and killed longtime leader Muammer Gaddafi, armed groups have frequently blockaded or damaged oil installations. The shutdowns have forced the NOC to declare force majeure, a legal move allowing it to free itself from contractual obligations in light of factors beyond its control.

Oil production has recovered to 1.2 million barrels per day, a week after militias ended a three-week blockade of several fields, including the nation’s largest. Prior to the closures, Libya’s oil sector was experiencing a period of calm. Production rose above one million bpd in late 2020 and averaged around 1.2 million in 2021.