Libyan oil facilities reopened as rivals agree on revenue-sharing

Eastern military commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar announces lifting of blockade

Pipelines at Libya's Ras Lanuf oil port. Esam Omran Al Fetori / File Photo / Reuters
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Libyan forces allied to the country's eastern-based government will allow production and exports of oil to resume under a framework for sharing of revenues with the rival government in Tripoli.

The announcement by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar lifts an eight-month blockade of Libyan oil facilities and comes amid peace talks between the House of Representatives administration based in the eastern city of Tobruk and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

"It was decided to resume production and export of oil with all the necessary conditions and procedural measures that ensure a fair distribution of its financial revenues," Field Marshal Haftar said in a televised broadcast.

The GNA's deputy prime minister, Ahmed Maiteeq, issued a statement immediately afterwards saying it "had been decided" to resume oil production and adding this would involve a new committee to oversee revenue distribution.

The committee would co-ordinate between the two sides to prepare a budget and transfer funds to cover payments and deal with the public debt, Mr Maiteeq said.

However, the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which operates Libya's energy sector, said issued a statement overnight that said it would not lift force majeure on exports until oil facilities were demilitarised. Neither Field Marshal Haftar or Mr Maiteeq addressed the withdrawal of military forces in their statements.

The blockade by eastern forces has cost Libya $9 billion (Dh33bn) in lost revenue so far this year, the Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya said this week. The stoppage has become a big obstacle to new efforts to seek a path forward in the peace talks, which began in Morocco this month.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj said on Wednesday that he planned to step down by the end of October to make way for a new administration to be decided at the talks.

Libya has been divided between rival administrations since 2014 and has suffered nearly a decade of chaos and conflict following the overthrow and death of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in a popular uprising in 2011.