Mohamed Aoun, Libya’s Minister of Oil and Gas has publicly acknowledged a crisis in the distribution of gas in Libya, despite there being no shortage of the resource itself. This statement was made during his recent television appearance.
Aoun explained that one of the main issues in Libya is the smuggling of fuel, which occurs in all regions, including the southern, eastern, and western parts of the country. He clarified that “the responsibility of his ministry ends once the fuel trucks leave the Brega depots, and do not have control over their subsequent destinations.” Regarding the lifting of subsidies on fuel, Aoun mentioned that there “has been no official decision yet, but only ideas being discussed without any formal agreement.”
Adding to this, the minister highlighted the many oil and gas discoveries in Libya, noting that they were managed away from political conflicts. However, he criticized the National Oil Corporation (NOC) for “not encouraging companies to engage more actively in these discoveries.” Aoun strongly opposed using the Libyan people’s need for oil as leverage for certain demands, describing such actions as unacceptable blackmail.
Furthermore, Aoun called for Libyan elites to “come forward and clarify various economic agreements and matters.” He expressed concern over the ambiguity surrounding many of these agreements, which he believes opens the door to suspicion and doubt.
This address by Aoun sheds light on the complex challenges faced in the Libyan oil and gas sector, highlighting issues of distribution, smuggling, and the politicization of natural resources.
Notably, Aoun has criticized international oil companies operating in the country, alleging that they are “capitalizing on the political turmoil to delay development projects.”
In an interview with S&P Platts, Aoun stated that “most companies have not fulfilled their commitments to specific projects, taking advantage of the unstable political situation.”
Earlier this year, major oil companies, including BP and Italy’s Eni, lifted the force majeure on their Libyan operations, indicating a return to the country, as communicated to the NOC.
However, Aoun is now accusing these companies of exploiting Libya’s security challenges to renegotiate contractual terms, showing little urgency in resuming production.
Libya had previously called on major oil companies to return to their fields, with plans to launch its first oil and gas tender in 17 years.
Although Libya currently produces around 1.24 million bpd, Aoun’s accusations suggest a slowdown in the development plans.