Mohamed Aoun, the Minister of Oil and Gas in Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU), has raised serious allegations against the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and its Chairman, Farhat Bengdara.
Aoun has objected to Bengdara’s approval of a $10 million dollar procurement of operational materials from a Dubai-based company, alleging that this decision was made without the required consent from the Ministry.
This issue was highlighted in Aoun’s letter to Siddiq Al-Kabir, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL).
According to the letter, Aoun underscored that Bengdara’s decision to greenlight a request by the Sirte Oil Company to purchase materials from the ‘Mediterranean Company’ in Dubai “constituted a clear breach of Libyan oil sector regulations.” He specifically cited violations of paragraph (7) of Article (23) and Article (24) of Decision (10) of 1979, about the reorganization of the NOC.
Aoun emphasized that “such financial dealings warrant the approval of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, a step that was conspicuously absent in this transaction.” As per Aoun, this oversight “represents a flagrant misuse of public funds and a disregard for the established procedures.”
This development is the latest in a series of contentious issues within Libya’s vital oil sector. Aoun has been vocal in his criticisms of the NOC’s operations, including the corporation’s recent agreement with Italy’s ENI.
His longstanding dispute with former Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, primarily over matters of authority and jurisdiction, further highlights the internal rifts within the sector. Aoun’s decision to suspend Sanalla, due to unauthorized overseas engagements, marked a significant escalation in their conflict.
These unfolding events within Libya’s oil and gas sector, a cornerstone of the national economy, reflect the intricate challenges in governance and management of the country’s most lucrative natural resources amidst its ongoing political instability.