Sec­ond Mal­tese tanker ar­rives in Libya to take oil from lib­er­ated Ras Lanuf

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE -

A sec­ond Mal­tese tanker ar­rived in the port of Ras Lanuf in Libya yes­ter­day to take on oil from the newly-lib­er­ated oil ter­mi­nal.

It is said this tanker will take on 570,000 bar­rels of oil.

Last week, the first Mal­tese tanker, Sea Delta, fly­ing a Span­ish flag, sailed from Tri­este and be­came the first tanker to take oil from Ras Lanuf af­ter this port was lib­er­ated by the forces of Gen­eral Khal­ifa Haf­tar.

Ac­cord­ing to Reuters, the first oil tanker left the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf for Italy early on Wed­nes­day with the first crude ex­port cargo from the ter­mi­nal since at least late 2014, boost­ing hopes of re­viv­ing Libya’s oil output.

The port man­ager of Ras Lanuf said a sec­ond tanker was pre­par­ing to load at the ter­mi­nal, one of four seized on 11-12 Septem­ber by east­ern Libyan forces loyal to mil­i­tary leader Khal­ifa Haf­tar.

Libya’s Na­tional Oil Cor­po­ra­tion has wel­comed a prom­ise by Haf­tar’s forces to al­low the NOC to con­trol the ports.

NOC Chair­man Mustafa Sanalla said on Wed­nes­day that na­tional pro­duc­tion had risen to about 390,000 bar­rels per day (bpd) from less than 290,000 bpd be­fore the change of con­trol at the ports.

Any boost in pro­duc­tion through the ports could also ben­e­fit the United Na­tions-backed Gov­ern­ment of Na­tional Ac­cord in Tripoli as it tries to unite ri­val armed fac­tions and sta­bi­lize the econ­omy, though Haf­tar has so far re­jected the GNA.

The NOC said last week it would be­gin ex­ports im­me­di­ately from Ras Lanuf and Zueitina, and that it would start them as soon as pos­si­ble from Es Sider. Ex­ports have con­tin­ued from Brega, the fourth port that was seized and that had re­mained open.

To­gether, the ports have a ca­pac­ity of nearly 800,000 bar­rels per day (bpd), though Ras Lanuf and Es Sider have been dam­aged in clashes and Brega has been op­er­at­ing at be­low its max­i­mum ca­pac­ity.

Armed con­flict and dis­putes have left Libya’s oil in­stal­la­tions un­der the con­trol of dif­fer­ent fac­tions and cut output to a frac­tion of the 1.6 mil­lion bpd it pro­duced be­fore an up­ris­ing top­pled Muam­mar Gaddafi in 2011.

The NOC has am­bi­tious goals of pro­duc­ing more than 900,000 bpd by the end of the year, but says it needs fund­ing for its op­er­at­ing bud­get and the re­open­ing of block­aded pipe­lines in west­ern Libya to reach that tar­get.

Sanalla said on Wed­nes­day that the NOC had so far re­ceived 310 mil­lion Libyan di­nars ($220 mil­lion) from the GNA, and had been promised an­other 300 mil­lion. “These amounts of money are not enough but we take into ac­count the dif­fi­cult fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion cur­rently,” he said.

Haf­tar’s forces seized the ports from a ri­val armed group that had con­trolled them for more than two years, and fended off a counter at­tack on Sun­day.

Many in west­ern Libya sus­pect Haf­tar, a for­mer Gaddafi ally, of plot­ting to take power na­tion­ally.

Fac­tions that sup­port him have tried to ex­port oil from east­ern Libya in­de­pen­dently, by­pass­ing the NOC in Tripoli, though they have also al­lowed oil ship­ments for NOC Tripoli to con­tinue from the east­ern port of Hariga.

Af­ter Haf­tar’s forces seized the ports the United States and ma­jor Euro­pean pow­ers called for them to with­draw, cau­tion­ing that they would move to block any ship­ments that took place out­side the au­thor­ity of the GNA.

The Sea Delta tanker that left Ras Lanuf on Wed­nes­day loaded with 700,000 bar­rels of crude and the sec­ond tanker that was pre­par­ing to load were both ar­ranged be­fore Haf­tar’s forces seized the ports.

Sanalla has said he re­ceived the go-ahead from the GNA’s lead­er­ship be­fore mov­ing to open the ports last week, and that ex­port earn­ings would be chan­neled through Tripoli. “The in­crease of oil pro­duc­tion will help earn more money and the rev­enues will go to the cen­tral bank,” he said on Wed­nes­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.