NOC’s Sanallah Warns Against the Risk of Disaster at Libya’s Oil Ports due to Increased Military Presence

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“Oil ports are closed, exporting is halted, so if these over-stocked tanks were attacked or exposed to fire or high temperature, it will lead to a massive disaster,” the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), Mustafa Sanallah, warned in a video message published on the NOC website.

Sanalla compared the risk of a disaster to Tuesday’s blast in Beirut, where Lebanon’s government said a combustible exploded 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left unsecured at the port for years, killing scores of people and wounding thousands.

Tribal leaders in eastern Libya closed oil ports and fields in January, accusing the GNA of using oil revenues to support armed groups against the Libyan National Army (LNA). This blockade has brought most of the output to a halt and caused storage tanks to fill.

After the most recent bout of warfare in June, the NOC said mercenaries had moved into oil fields and ports held by the eastern forces, adding that the shutdown was causing severe technical problems at the fields and ports.

Oil, the lifeline of Libya’s economy, has long been a key factor in the civil war, as rival authorities jostle for control of oil fields and state revenues.

Libya has the ninth-largest known oil reserves in the world and the largest oil reserves in Africa.