Internationally-recognized HoR Libyan government may try to sabotage Glencore oil deal
Before the rebellion against Gadaffi, Libya was pumping 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. Now, it is pumping about one quarter of that amount with new problems constantly popping up.
The National Oil Company and the Libyan Central Bank have been key institutions in retaining whatever unity there is in Libya. The National Oil Company deposits the money it receives for oil exports in the Libyan Central Bank and then distributes the funds to pay salaries and expenses for both rival governments. The internationally-recognized government the House of Representatives(HoR) is located in Tobruk while the rival government the General National Congress(GNC) is located in Tripoli. The UN Support MIssion in Libya(UNSMIL) has warned the rival governments several times not to endanger the neutrality of these key institutions and threatened possible sanctions against those who do so:The internationally-recognized HoR government went ahead and set up its own National Oil Company(NOC) in competition with the existing neutral National Oil Company located in the capital, Tripoli, and also set up a rival head of the Libyan National Bank. So far oil companies and tankers have insisted on registering only with the National Oil Company in Tripoli. This annoys the HoR, which has been attempting to force companies to register with its own NOC in the east. Recently, militia guarding a port in the east refused to load an oil tanker and closed the port to any tankers not registered with the eastern NOC.The UN did nothing before to stop the actions of the HoR and it is doing nothing now. It is not even mentioning the actions any more. The Glencore situation is simply a continuation of the HoR drive to sabotage the operations of the neutral NOC, since it wants eastern exports to go only through its own rival firm. This threatens the economy as well as the success of negotiations for a unity Government of National Accord that the new UN Special Envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, has been pressing for. Yet the UN not only does not attempt to stop what is going on but does not even mention it, nor does the international community.News reports on what is happening obscure the reality that I just described. Here is a very misleading account of what happened, coming from a no less reputable news source than the Guardian which says of Glencore:Other reports also repeat the Guardian misrepresentation:[url=http://ww4report.com/node/14475http://ww4report.com/node/14475 t=_blank]The agreement signed in September covers 150,000 barrels a day with an option to renew the deal in December. The HoR is again snubbing its nose at the UN and the international community which has always dealt with the neutral NOC. The HoR is now forcing the business community to deal with its own rival company that was set up in spite of warnings from the UN not to do so as it will divide the country even further. If this move is successful the division between the rival governments will be increased while the UN Special Envoy to Libya is busy flogging the dead horse of the Libya Political Agreement that neither government has approved.
In this regard, UNSMIL calls on the parties to safeguard the national institutions by refraining from taking any steps that could compromise the neutrality of these institutions that are crucial for Libya’s economic survival.
The Switzerland-based firm agreed last week to buy up to half of Libya’s oil exports from the western division of the National Oil Company in Tripoli, where an Islamist-backed government is based.There are no eastern and western divisions of the National Oil Company. There is the neutral National Oil Company based in Tripoli that serves all of Libya, or is supposed to. There is also the rival NOC in the east, set up by the HoR against the wishes of the UN and in spite of the threat of sanctions. The HoR wants to keep oil revenues from ports it controls to itself and sign the contracts. Glencore would be loading crude oil from the Sarir and Messia fields and exporting from Marsa el-Hariga port in the east at Tobruk. The Guardian reports: " The eastern government says it does not recognise any agreement signed with Tripoli." However, the deal is not signed "with Tripoli" but with the National Oil Company that serves the whole of Libya, or did until the HoR attempted to sabotage the arrangement.
The eastern Libyan government's half of state-owned oil company NOC may seek to physically prevent tankers of commodity company Glencore from loading oil purchased from the western half of the company.There are not two halves of NOC, one in the east and one in the west. This is bizarre reporting.