The Benghazi-based government, which is allied with the Libyan National Army, “blocked oil exports at ports under his control, slashing output by more than half and posing a potential setback for an international conference on Sunday that aims to broker an end to a civil war in the OPEC nation,” Bloomberg reported on Saturday.
During the past few years, te Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar consolidated control over the most of Libya and captured a major part of the country’s oil and gas fields. The LNA is now in a deep conflict with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
“As a result of the blockage of ports in the central and eastern parts of the country, oil output will fall by about 800,000 barrels a day, costing $55 million daily, the National Oil Corp. said in a statement on Saturday. The NOC declared Force Majeure, which can allow Libya, which holds Africa’s largest-proven oil reserves, to legally suspend delivery contracts,” Bloomberg adde dnoting that Libya’s National Oil Corp. (NOC) declared Force Majeure.
The LNA says that the oil export ports were closed in respnose to ‘demands of the Libyan nation’. Indeed, a series of protests demanding to halt the oil export that generates revenue that the pro-Turkish GNA uses to pay its forces and Turkey-provided private military contractors.
The LNA move to close the oil export ports demonstrates its readiness to continue providing its national-oriented policy regardless the possible financial losses. This will likely increase chances to find the political understanding with the GNA. If no, the LNA will have another point of pressure on GNA supporters interested in the NOC oil revenues.
On Sunday, the GNA, the LNA, Turkey, Russia and several other countries will participate in the Berlin Conference designed to find a political solution to the ongoing Libyan conflict.