Libya's PM Dbeibah says crude exports are set to resume in full

Agreement with groups blockading facilities came after Farhat Bengdara replaced Mustafa Sanalla as NOC chairman

Farhat Bengdara, the new chief of Libya's National Oil Corporation, who was appointed by the Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. AFP
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Libyan crude exports are set for full resumption after months of outages, Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah said on Sunday.

All oilfields and ports are restarting operations and electricity output will increase as well, Mr Dbeibah said at the first meeting of the new board of the National Oil Corporation.

The decision to replace the state-run oil company’s leadership last week was based on the consensus of Libyan groups and not part of a political deal, Mr Dbeibah was reported as saying by a local channel.

The overhaul of the NOC board has been rejected by former chairman Mustafa Sanalla and his supporters.

“We need to facilitate the entry of big oil companies, especially European ones, to help us increase production and develop the sector,” Mr Dbeibah said.

He vowed to use higher crude prices to pay bigger salaries to oil workers.

The old board would be welcome should they want to co-operate and return to work, but the government would respond in kind to any use of “force”, Mr Dbeibah said.

Production and shipments are resuming after a deal was reached with groups who had been blockading many of the major facilities since the first quarter, Farhat Bengdara, NOC's new head, said on Saturday.

The disruption had halved the Opec nation’s output and caused chronic electricity outages, stoking public anger.

The NOC said on Twitter on Sunday that an Italian-flagged tanker had entered the oil terminal at Brega to load a shipment.

Libya’s energy facilities have been at the heart of the country's conflicts over the past decade, with various groups shutting down oil output to press their political and economic demands.

Last Thursday, Mr Dbeibah appointed Mr Bengdara as NOC chairman, replacing Mr Sanalla, the long-term holder of the post.

Mr Sanalla had frequently been at odds with the Ministry of Oil that was reinstated by Mr Dbeibah’s Tripoli-based government.

Mr Dbeibah himself faces a challenge from a rival premier picked by Parliament, Fathi Bashagha, who has the support of some of the country’s numerous militias, raising fears of another round of conflict.

Updated: July 18, 2022, 6:17 AM