Authorities in East Libya Threaten Oil Export Blockade


The Eastern Libyan authorities issued a stark warning on Saturday, threatening to halt oil exports due to corruption in the Government of National Unity (GNU).

Accusing the GNU of “squandering billions without providing essential services,” this marks another escalation in the ongoing political stalemate that has gripped Libya for over a year.

In a rebuke of the interim government, the eastern-based Parliament established a new government last year, although it has yet to take control in the capital.

The administration stated, “If necessary, we will raise the red flag, curb the flow of oil and gas, and halt its exportation by invoking the judiciary and declaring force majeure.”

Since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011, which spurred years of warfare and chaos, Libya has seen frequent oil blockades, used by both local groups and major factions as a political maneuver.

The key to a durable solution to Libya’s enduring conflict lies in progressing towards elections, a goal supported publicly by all factions. Yet, disputes over electoral rules, and a new interim government to oversee these elections have repeatedly delayed the goal.

The Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar has expressed his support for the Parliament’s attempt to appoint a new interim government, challenging the current Tripoli-based GNU. On Thursday, a court ruling in eastern Libya claimed that the eastern administration had successfully won a case against the National Oil Corporation (NOC), thereby gaining control of the company’s accounts.

The battle for control over Libya’s vast energy revenues has been a constant feature in the country’s conflicts and political wrangling. Internationally recognized agreements affirm that the NOC is the only entity authorized to produce and export Libyan oil, and all sales must pass through the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), which is also based in Tripoli.

Despite the ongoing turmoil, the NOC has managed to operate across the entire country, irrespective of political divisions. Simultaneously, the CBL has maintained salary payments, including those to fighters on opposing sides, throughout the nation.