Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Former Libya PM kidnapped in Tripoli: family – News24

Tripoli – Libya’s former prime minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped by an armed group in war-torn Tripoli and not been heard from in nine days, family members and friends said on Tuesday.

Zeidan, who became premier in November 2012, was dismissed by Libya’s parliament in March 2014 amid accusations that public funds had been embezzled.

He left the country soon afterwards, in defiance of a travel ban issued by the attorney general.

Zeidan had returned to Libya in early August for the first time since his dismissal and was planning a Tripoli press conference to respond to his critics, according to Karam Khaled, a friend who accompanied him.

He said the former premier’s visit had been coordinated with Fayez al-Sarraj, premier in the country’s United Nations-backed Government of National Accord.

“It was the GNA that prepared the visit, including protocol at the airport and the hotel reservation,” Khaled said.

He said an armed group’s first attempt to seize Zeidan on August 12 was foiled by hotel guards.

He said the gunmen were from the GNA-linked Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, a militia of former rebels from the NATO-backed 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

“Gunmen from the same group returned the next day and we were obliged to hand them Zeidan,” Khaled said.

“Since then, we have had no information on where he is being held or his condition,” he said, criticising the “silence” of the unity government.

The ex-prime minister’s son Zeidan Zeidan said the family had no news of his father’s whereabouts.

“We have nothing so far,” he said by phone from the United Arab Emirates, where he lives.

He said his father’s lawyer had told him no court cases had been brought against the former premier.

“This was indeed a kidnapping and not an arrest,” he said, adding that the family is worried for the health of his father, who is 67.

In October 2013, gunmen seized the then premier from Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia Hotel, but he was released after several hours.

Since Gaddafi’s fall, Libya has been plagued by security problems and political actors have been obliged to depend on rival militias that are battling for control of the North African country.

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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Libya Key Oil Field Shuts Again Following Brief Restart – Bloomberg – Bloomberg

A Libyan security force has reopened a key oil pipeline, a step toward allowing the nations largest oil field to resume output after three days of disruptions.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard, which is tasked with securing oil installations, opened a valve that had been shut on the pipeline linking Libyas Sharara field to its Zawiya port, Wessam Al-Messmari, an office manager for the group, said by phone. Details as to the cause of the closure werent immediately clear.

Earlier Tuesday the state-run National Oil Corp. announced the restart of the Sharara field and the lifting of force majeure, a legal status protecting a party from liability if it cant fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control, on crude exports from the Zawiya terminal. The NOC later removed the statement from its website.

Sharara has experienced several brief shutdowns caused by different groups this year. The oil field closed for two days in June due to a protest by workers. Pumping was interrupted for several hours earlier this month after armed protesters shut some facilities. Production was 230,000 barrels a day, a person familiar with the situation said at the time.

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Libya is trying to revive its oil production and exports in the midst of continuing political uncertainty. In July, crude production was at a four-year high and exports were the most in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the expansion has helped Libyas oil-dependent economy, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is trying to cut global supplies. That effort has been weakened by recovering output by OPEC members Libya and Nigeria.

The estimated the value of lost oil production during the past three days is about $40 million, according to the NOC.

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Libya’s Biggest Oil Field Shut Down As Tensions Rise – Yahoo Finance

The shutdown of Libyas Sharara oilfield, the countrys largest field, has once again shown that expected production growth of several OPEC countries should not be taken for granted.

Even though several media sources have been publishing overwhelmingly optimistic reports about the security situation in the country, especially after the unexpected production boost of Libyas battered oil and gas sector, the perceived peace between General Khalifa Haftars LNA and the East Libyan government (HoR), remains shaky at best.

A pipeline blockade by an armed group has hindered the loading of Sharara crude from the Zawya oil terminal since Sunday. Libyas national oil company, NOC, has already declared a force majeure. The Sharara oil field, run by a JV of Libyas NOC and international oil companies Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil, is crucial to the revival of Libyan oil production, as it is currently producing around 280,000 bpd. In the past several weeks, production has been shut down several times, due to protests by oil workers and armed guards. Currently, the location of the blockade, as well as the demands of the protesters remain unknown.

Analysts are still optimistic about the future of Libyas oil sector, but given the ongoing battle for power within the country, this could be wishful thinking. The security situation has drastically improved, and the NOC, in cooperation with national security forces and the oil guards, have been able to deal with continuing strikes and disruptions effectively. NOC CEO Mustafa Sanallas efforts to get operations running, even visiting conflict areas in person, has made a substantial difference in the region. The NOC CEO has also attempted to woo international oil companies to resume investment in the countrys oil sector, while ending blockades of ports and reopening attractive fields. Additionally, the primary complaints of oil workers have been addressed, as outstanding salary payments and security issues were previously not met.

Libyas oil production is now officially above 1 million bpd, which is almost 4 times more than the year prior. Back in 2011, Libya produced around 1.6 million bpd, but the civil war following the removal of Libyas dictator Muammar Khaddaffi saw oil production plunge. Libyan oil experts expect a steady 1.2 million bpd production by the end of 2017.

Related:Forget Oil Prices, Oil Majors Are A Buy

Despite the NOCs best efforts to boost output, recent developments on the ground are very worrying. After a short thaw between the main players in the conflict, the Libyan government (HoR) and the Libyan general Haftars LNA, tensions are once again on the rise. The deal between the HoR and LNA now is seen by others as a threat to their own positions. A real political solution will not only lead to power clashes with the other armed militias and IS affiliates, but could also have direct negative repercussions on oil and gas production. For all players, access to the oil and gas sector is essential. The revenues from oil and gas production are not only the main lifeline for the country but are also funding the armed militias in the conflict.

At the same time, international pressure on both sides could lead to increased insecurity. The arrest by the LNA of the commander of its elite forces unit, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, as demanded by the International Criminal Court (ICC), may lead to a possible internal conflict. Al-Werfalli is wanted by the ICC for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners. The LNA has arrested him to be investigated by a military prosecutor. Werfallis Special Forces is seen as a powerful elite unit under LNA control which joined the Benghazi campaign in its early stages. It is unclear at present if the LNA will hand over Al-Werfalli to the ICC in due course. The group also holds the control of most of Libyas oil and gas fields.

A potential power struggle within this group could once again lead to blockades, outages and falling exports.

By Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com

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Libya lifts force majeure on Sharara crude shipments – Seeking Alpha

Libyas biggest oil field is back up and running after the national oil company lifts force majeure on Sharara crude exports from the Zawiya terminal after just three days.

Force majeure had been declared Saturday on crude deliveries from the key oil field after a blockade by a militant group, just the latest of several brief shutdowns caused by different groups this year.

Sharara is operated by a joint venture of Libya’s NOC, Repsol (OTCQX:REPYF, OTCQX:REPYY), Total (NYSE:TOT), OMV (OTCPK:OMVJF) and Statoil (NYSE:STO).

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Suluq town in east Libya flooded with sewage water – The Libya Observer

The inhabitants of Suluq town have been suffering from the continued flow of sewage water on the streets for many years, especially in the center of the city known as the ” the market centre” where residents find themselves subjected to unpleasant smells and mosquito bites.

Speaking to Libyan News Agency (LANA) of the eastern government, Attiya Belaazi, a resident of the own, said the health of the citizens and their usurped rights have been in vain, where residents became familiar with the scene of sewage water in the streets and in front of their homes, creating ponds and marshes that have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects.

As the flow of sewage from the sewers continues to rise, houses in the area are surrounded by black pools, making it difficult for locals to reach their homes without being polluted.

Belaazi said “the increase of this problem foreshadows a health and environmental catastrophe, not to mention the psychological damage caused by the black lakes and bad odors”.

For his part, environmental researcher Taher Salem Ghnewah said that there have been no studies on the pollution and no competent body showed interest on its assessment.

Environmental researcher Tahir Ghanewah warned of drinking water contamination, calling on the rival authorities in the country to carry out studies and research on the proportion of pollution, especially after the fracture seen on the buildings as well as the new symptoms that have been noticed on the people residing the town.

Suluq Mayor al-Bashir al-Jarmani said during a phone call with LANA that the municipality had addressed all concerned parties in the state to save lives of the inhabitants.

He pointed out that the problem of pollution and rift was caused by the exhaustion of infrastructure and the absence of sewage networks, urging the Libyan Interim Government to intervene to conclude contracts and save what can be saved.

The technical adviser in the municipality, Mohamed Kzah, described the situation as “catastrophic”, reaffirming that the Libyan state during the previous regime had contracted with a Brazilian company in 2006 to implement the infrastructure project in Suluq town, but the company only achieved 12% of the project before leaving the country due to the outbreak of the revolution on 17 of February 2011.

He confirmed that the Municipality has all the studies and the cost needed to complete the project, hoping that the concerned parties would heed their appeal to conclude other new contracts to resume work on the project.

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Libya: Six years on path of return for displaced Tawarghas remains blocked – Amnesty International

Six years since the Tawarghas were displaced from their hometown by Misratah militia forces in August 2011, the community of about 40,000 people are still unable to return safely to their homes, Amnesty International said today.

Two months ago, in June 2017, a political agreement was signed paving the way for their return. However, the terms of the deal not been implemented and some of those who have attempted to make the journey home since have faced threats and intimidation. The agreement also fails to ensure access to justice and reparations for the horrendous abuses Tawarghas have endured in recent years.

The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity, said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

Without clear political will to enforce the agreement to ensure the Tawarghas safe return home, the public commitments made in June will be little more than an empty gesture.

The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity

In August 2011, fighters from Misratah attacked the neighbouring town of Tawargha, which was being used as a base to launch attacks by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. The Misratah forces drove out all of Tawarghas inhabitants, looting and burning their homes and converting it into a ghost town.

Over the following six years, the Tawargha community has faced relentless reprisal attacks from Misratah forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. To date, there has been no investigation into these abuses and no one has been held to account for these crimes.

Previously, military and political leaders of Misratah have repeatedly stated that they would not allow the Tawarghas to return to their hometown. The towns former residents are now displaced throughout the country, living in makeshift accommodation, often in appalling conditions.

Failure to tackle impunity

The agreement, signed on 19 June 2017 between leaders from Tawargha and Misratah, the Government of National Accord and other officials, fails to ensure accountability for the crimes under international law and other grave human rights abuses committed against the Tawargha people, therby reinforcing a climate of impunity. Many in the Tawargha community welcomed it because it appeared to at least guarantee the conditions for a safe return.

An agreement that blatantly ignores the horrific crimes committed against the Tawarghas was always doomed to failure. Only a deal that ensures the right of the community to return safely and prioritizes justice by ensuring that those responsible for atrocities are held accountable for their actions can offer a real way forward, said Heba Morayef.

Return home blocked

The first Tawargha families attempted to return three days after the agreement was signed in June. Despite public support for the deal from Misratah officials, the families were threatened and intimidated at a checkpoint by individuals from Misratah and forced to turn around and go back to Tripoli.

Emad Irqayh, a Tawargha activist, told Amnesty International that he set out for the town in a convoy of 35 cars on 22 June, after coordinating with individuals from Misratah who were supportive of the return. He said he was 1km away from the last checkpoint when he saw two cars turning back. They told me they were stopped and threatened. So I called the other families who were in cars behind me and told them to turn back to avoid escalation, some of the women began crying, he said.

On 29 June, during Eid, a smaller group of families made another attempt to return. One member of the Tawargha community, travelling with his 87-year-old mother, described the heartache and disappointment he felt upon his return to the town and their inability to stay there.It was a very emotional moment I wont lie to you, I had tears in my eyes, but the level of destruction of our home town is devastating, he said, adding that he and his mother spent just a few hours there before having to head back.

Libyan political factions must ensure Tawarghas are protected from all forms of intimidation, threats and attacks and order all affiliated-militias to allow the community to return safely to their hometown, said Heba Morayef.

It is essential that the Government of National Accord and officials in Misratah, including the Misratah Local Council, take the lead in enabling and securing the safe return of the Tawarghas. This includes monitoring the return and settlement process, rehabilitation of homes, schools, and infrastructure of the town.

Libyan political factions must ensure Tawarghas are protected from all forms of intimidation, threats and attacks and order all affiliated-militias to allow the community to return safely to their hometown

As well as ensuring the safe return of displaced families to Tawargha, Amnesty International calls on officials in Misratah, members of the Misratah Municipal Council and Libyas Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord and the Ministry of Justice to uphold the right of Tawargha victims to seek truth, justice and reparation for the human rights violations they have endured and continue to suffer.

For more information about the atrocities carried out against the Tawarghas see:

Libya:We are not safe anywhere: Tawarghas in Libya

Barred from their homes: Continued displacement and persecution of Tawarghas and other communities in Libya

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Report: An Armed Group Is Stopping Migrants From Leaving Libya – TIME

Migrants wait to be rescued by Italian coast guard in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautic miles from the Libyan coast, on August 6, 2017.Angelos TzortzinisAFP/Getty Images

A gun-toting group of civilians, policemen and soldiers in Libya has been preventing migrants from embarking across the Mediterranean to Italy, Reuters reports . It is believed to have caused the sudden fall in departures from Libya in July.

Libyan smugglers tend to send more boats in during peak months of July and August due to good sea conditions. But migrant arrivals to Italy from North Africa, which has been the main route to Europe this year, have sharply reduced by more than 50% last month compared to July 2016.

The drop has been caused by a new armed group in the city of Sabratha, according to Reuters. The group, reportedly made up of “civilians, policemen, [and] army figures” is believed to be policing the city, which is 45 miles west of Tripoli, and has been accused of running a detention center for migrants taken or turned back by smugglers.

Migrants rescued on Saturday confirmed that the situation in Sabratha has changed. “They said that it was very difficult to depart from Sabratha. There are people stopping the boats before they set out, and if they get out to sea they’re immediately sent back,” Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesman in Rome, told the news organization.

Reuters reports that the group might be seeking financial support from the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, whom European countries have been trying to partner with in an attempt to curb migrant arrivals.

The fall in numbers comes after a series of attempts by Italy which has become the main route for arrivals this year to discourage a number of NGOs from running migrant rescue missions off the Libyan coast and cooperate with the Libyan coast guard.

[ Reuters ]

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Armed group stops migrant boats from leaving Libya – The Sydney Morning Herald

Tunis/Rome: An armed group is stopping migrant boats from setting off across the Mediterranean from a city west of Tripoli that has been a springboard for people smugglers, causing a sudden drop in departures over the past month, sources in the area said.

The revelation throws new light on the sharp reduction in migrant arrivals from Italy, which took over from the Aegean route as the main focus of European concerns in the crisis.

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Arrivals in Italy from North Africa, the main route for migration to Europe this year, dropped by more than 50 per cent in July from a year earlier, and August arrivals so far are down even further. July and August are peak months for migrant boats because of favourable sea conditions.

Sources in Sabratha, 70 km west of the capital, said the sudden drop had been caused by a new force in the seaside city, which is preventing migrants from leaving, often by locking them up.

The group in Sabratha “works on the ground, the beach, to prevent the migrants leaving on boats towards Italy,” said a civil society organiser from the city, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The group is made up of several hundred “civilians, policemen, army figures,” he said. It is conducting a “very strong campaign” that was launched by a “former mafia boss”, said a second Sabratha source who follows smuggling activity closely.

A third source with contacts in Libya, who also asked not to be named, said the Sabratha group was making “a significant effort to police the area”.

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The two Sabratha sources said the group was running a detention centre for migrants who are turned back or taken from smugglers. One sent a picture of hundreds of migrants sitting in the sand in front of a high wall.

One of the sources said he thought the group was seeking legitimacy and financial support from Tripoli, where European states have tried to partner with a UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to stem migrant flows. An official from the interior ministry’s department for combating illegal migration in Sabratha did not respond to a request for comment.

It was not possible to contact the group, which the third source said was called Brigade 48, although other sources did not confirm this.

Italy has been trying to bolster the GNA’s ability to stop people smuggling with cash, training and by sending a ship to help repair Tripoli’s coastguard and navy vessels. Some 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014, testing the country’s ability to cope. More than 12,000 have died trying.

Most leave from Libya’s western coast. Following a local backlash against smugglers in Zuwara in the west in 2015, Sabratha became the most frequently used departure point.

Italy wants to replicate a deal with Libya that the EU struck with Turkey last year, largely shutting down the migrant route through Greece and the Balkans.

With a national election looming during the first half of next year, the government in Rome is under pressure to show it can stop, or at least slow, migration.

But any progress in Libya is likely to be fragile, with the country in a state of conflict since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted six years ago. Rival governments are vying for power and local militias battle each other for territory and smuggling profits.

Last week Italy seized on the drop in arrivals, with Interior Minister Marco Minniti saying he saw a “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Reuters

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Libya’s Biggest Oil Field Shut Down As Tensions Rise – OilPrice.com

The shutdown of Libyas Sharara oilfield, the countrys largest field, has once again shown that expected production growth of several OPEC countries should not be taken for granted.

Even though several media sources have been publishing overwhelmingly optimistic reports about the security situation in the country, especially after the unexpected production boost of Libyas battered oil and gas sector, the perceived peace between General Khalifa Haftars LNA and the East Libyan government (HoR), remains shaky at best.

A pipeline blockade by an armed group has hindered the loading of Sharara crude from the Zawya oil terminal since Sunday. Libyas national oil company, NOC, has already declared a force majeure. The Sharara oil field, run by a JV of Libyas NOC and international oil companies Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil, is crucial to the revival of Libyan oil production, as it is currently producing around 280,000 bpd. In the past several weeks, production has been shut down several times, due to protests by oil workers and armed guards. Currently, the location of the blockade, as well as the demands of the protesters remain unknown.

Analysts are still optimistic about the future of Libyas oil sector, but given the ongoing battle for power within the country, this could be wishful thinking. The security situation has drastically improved, and the NOC, in cooperation with national security forces and the oil guards, have been able to deal with continuing strikes and disruptions effectively. NOC CEO Mustafa Sanallas efforts to get operations running, even visiting conflict areas in person, has made a substantial difference in the region. The NOC CEO has also attempted to woo international oil companies to resume investment in the countrys oil sector, while ending blockades of ports and reopening attractive fields. Additionally, the primary complaints of oil workers have been addressed, as outstanding salary payments and security issues were previously not met.

Libyas oil production is now officially above 1 million bpd, which is almost 4 times more than the year prior. Back in 2011, Libya produced around 1.6 million bpd, but the civil war following the removal of Libyas dictator Muammar Khaddaffi saw oil production plunge. Libyan oil experts expect a steady 1.2 million bpd production by the end of 2017. Related:Forget Oil Prices, Oil Majors Are A Buy

Despite the NOCs best efforts to boost output, recent developments on the ground are very worrying. After a short thaw between the main players in the conflict, the Libyan government (HoR) and the Libyan general Haftars LNA, tensions are once again on the rise. The deal between the HoR and LNA now is seen by others as a threat to their own positions. A real political solution will not only lead to power clashes with the other armed militias and IS affiliates, but could also have direct negative repercussions on oil and gas production. For all players, access to the oil and gas sector is essential. The revenues from oil and gas production are not only the main lifeline for the country but are also funding the armed militias in the conflict.

At the same time, international pressure on both sides could lead to increased insecurity. The arrest by the LNA of the commander of its elite forces unit, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, as demanded by the International Criminal Court (ICC), may lead to a possible internal conflict. Al-Werfalli is wanted by the ICC for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners. The LNA has arrested him to be investigated by a military prosecutor. Werfallis Special Forces is seen as a powerful elite unit under LNA control which joined the Benghazi campaign in its early stages. It is unclear at present if the LNA will hand over Al-Werfalli to the ICC in due course. The group also holds the control of most of Libyas oil and gas fields.

A potential power struggle within this group could once again lead to blockades, outages and falling exports.

By Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com

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Former Libya PM kidnapped in Tripoli: family – News24

Tripoli – Libya’s former prime minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped by an armed group in war-torn Tripoli and not been heard from in nine days, family members and friends said on Tuesday. Zeidan, who became premier in November 2012, was dismissed by Libya’s parliament in March 2014 amid accusations that public funds had been embezzled. He left the country soon afterwards, in defiance of a travel ban issued by the attorney general. Zeidan had returned to Libya in early August for the first time since his dismissal and was planning a Tripoli press conference to respond to his critics, according to Karam Khaled, a friend who accompanied him. He said the former premier’s visit had been coordinated with Fayez al-Sarraj, premier in the country’s United Nations-backed Government of National Accord. “It was the GNA that prepared the visit, including protocol at the airport and the hotel reservation,” Khaled said. He said an armed group’s first attempt to seize Zeidan on August 12 was foiled by hotel guards. He said the gunmen were from the GNA-linked Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, a militia of former rebels from the NATO-backed 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi. “Gunmen from the same group returned the next day and we were obliged to hand them Zeidan,” Khaled said. “Since then, we have had no information on where he is being held or his condition,” he said, criticising the “silence” of the unity government. The ex-prime minister’s son Zeidan Zeidan said the family had no news of his father’s whereabouts. “We have nothing so far,” he said by phone from the United Arab Emirates, where he lives. He said his father’s lawyer had told him no court cases had been brought against the former premier. “This was indeed a kidnapping and not an arrest,” he said, adding that the family is worried for the health of his father, who is 67. In October 2013, gunmen seized the then premier from Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia Hotel, but he was released after several hours. Since Gaddafi’s fall, Libya has been plagued by security problems and political actors have been obliged to depend on rival militias that are battling for control of the North African country. 24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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Libya Key Oil Field Shuts Again Following Brief Restart – Bloomberg – Bloomberg

A Libyan security force has reopened a key oil pipeline, a step toward allowing the nations largest oil field to resume output after three days of disruptions. The Petroleum Facilities Guard, which is tasked with securing oil installations, opened a valve that had been shut on the pipeline linking Libyas Sharara field to its Zawiya port, Wessam Al-Messmari, an office manager for the group, said by phone. Details as to the cause of the closure werent immediately clear. Earlier Tuesday the state-run National Oil Corp. announced the restart of the Sharara field and the lifting of force majeure, a legal status protecting a party from liability if it cant fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control, on crude exports from the Zawiya terminal. The NOC later removed the statement from its website. Sharara has experienced several brief shutdowns caused by different groups this year. The oil field closed for two days in June due to a protest by workers. Pumping was interrupted for several hours earlier this month after armed protesters shut some facilities. Production was 230,000 barrels a day, a person familiar with the situation said at the time. The most important market news of the day. Get our markets daily newsletter. Libya is trying to revive its oil production and exports in the midst of continuing political uncertainty. In July, crude production was at a four-year high and exports were the most in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While the expansion has helped Libyas oil-dependent economy, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is trying to cut global supplies. That effort has been weakened by recovering output by OPEC members Libya and Nigeria. The estimated the value of lost oil production during the past three days is about $40 million, according to the NOC.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya’s Biggest Oil Field Shut Down As Tensions Rise – Yahoo Finance

The shutdown of Libyas Sharara oilfield, the countrys largest field, has once again shown that expected production growth of several OPEC countries should not be taken for granted. Even though several media sources have been publishing overwhelmingly optimistic reports about the security situation in the country, especially after the unexpected production boost of Libyas battered oil and gas sector, the perceived peace between General Khalifa Haftars LNA and the East Libyan government (HoR), remains shaky at best. A pipeline blockade by an armed group has hindered the loading of Sharara crude from the Zawya oil terminal since Sunday. Libyas national oil company, NOC, has already declared a force majeure. The Sharara oil field, run by a JV of Libyas NOC and international oil companies Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil, is crucial to the revival of Libyan oil production, as it is currently producing around 280,000 bpd. In the past several weeks, production has been shut down several times, due to protests by oil workers and armed guards. Currently, the location of the blockade, as well as the demands of the protesters remain unknown. Analysts are still optimistic about the future of Libyas oil sector, but given the ongoing battle for power within the country, this could be wishful thinking. The security situation has drastically improved, and the NOC, in cooperation with national security forces and the oil guards, have been able to deal with continuing strikes and disruptions effectively. NOC CEO Mustafa Sanallas efforts to get operations running, even visiting conflict areas in person, has made a substantial difference in the region. The NOC CEO has also attempted to woo international oil companies to resume investment in the countrys oil sector, while ending blockades of ports and reopening attractive fields. Additionally, the primary complaints of oil workers have been addressed, as outstanding salary payments and security issues were previously not met. Libyas oil production is now officially above 1 million bpd, which is almost 4 times more than the year prior. Back in 2011, Libya produced around 1.6 million bpd, but the civil war following the removal of Libyas dictator Muammar Khaddaffi saw oil production plunge. Libyan oil experts expect a steady 1.2 million bpd production by the end of 2017. Related:Forget Oil Prices, Oil Majors Are A Buy Despite the NOCs best efforts to boost output, recent developments on the ground are very worrying. After a short thaw between the main players in the conflict, the Libyan government (HoR) and the Libyan general Haftars LNA, tensions are once again on the rise. The deal between the HoR and LNA now is seen by others as a threat to their own positions. A real political solution will not only lead to power clashes with the other armed militias and IS affiliates, but could also have direct negative repercussions on oil and gas production. For all players, access to the oil and gas sector is essential. The revenues from oil and gas production are not only the main lifeline for the country but are also funding the armed militias in the conflict. At the same time, international pressure on both sides could lead to increased insecurity. The arrest by the LNA of the commander of its elite forces unit, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, as demanded by the International Criminal Court (ICC), may lead to a possible internal conflict. Al-Werfalli is wanted by the ICC for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners. The LNA has arrested him to be investigated by a military prosecutor. Werfallis Special Forces is seen as a powerful elite unit under LNA control which joined the Benghazi campaign in its early stages. It is unclear at present if the LNA will hand over Al-Werfalli to the ICC in due course. The group also holds the control of most of Libyas oil and gas fields. A potential power struggle within this group could once again lead to blockades, outages and falling exports. By Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya lifts force majeure on Sharara crude shipments – Seeking Alpha

Libyas biggest oil field is back up and running after the national oil company lifts force majeure on Sharara crude exports from the Zawiya terminal after just three days. Force majeure had been declared Saturday on crude deliveries from the key oil field after a blockade by a militant group, just the latest of several brief shutdowns caused by different groups this year. Sharara is operated by a joint venture of Libya’s NOC, Repsol (OTCQX:REPYF, OTCQX:REPYY), Total (NYSE:TOT), OMV (OTCPK:OMVJF) and Statoil (NYSE:STO).

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Suluq town in east Libya flooded with sewage water – The Libya Observer

The inhabitants of Suluq town have been suffering from the continued flow of sewage water on the streets for many years, especially in the center of the city known as the ” the market centre” where residents find themselves subjected to unpleasant smells and mosquito bites. Speaking to Libyan News Agency (LANA) of the eastern government, Attiya Belaazi, a resident of the own, said the health of the citizens and their usurped rights have been in vain, where residents became familiar with the scene of sewage water in the streets and in front of their homes, creating ponds and marshes that have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects. As the flow of sewage from the sewers continues to rise, houses in the area are surrounded by black pools, making it difficult for locals to reach their homes without being polluted. Belaazi said “the increase of this problem foreshadows a health and environmental catastrophe, not to mention the psychological damage caused by the black lakes and bad odors”. For his part, environmental researcher Taher Salem Ghnewah said that there have been no studies on the pollution and no competent body showed interest on its assessment. Environmental researcher Tahir Ghanewah warned of drinking water contamination, calling on the rival authorities in the country to carry out studies and research on the proportion of pollution, especially after the fracture seen on the buildings as well as the new symptoms that have been noticed on the people residing the town. Suluq Mayor al-Bashir al-Jarmani said during a phone call with LANA that the municipality had addressed all concerned parties in the state to save lives of the inhabitants. He pointed out that the problem of pollution and rift was caused by the exhaustion of infrastructure and the absence of sewage networks, urging the Libyan Interim Government to intervene to conclude contracts and save what can be saved. The technical adviser in the municipality, Mohamed Kzah, described the situation as “catastrophic”, reaffirming that the Libyan state during the previous regime had contracted with a Brazilian company in 2006 to implement the infrastructure project in Suluq town, but the company only achieved 12% of the project before leaving the country due to the outbreak of the revolution on 17 of February 2011. He confirmed that the Municipality has all the studies and the cost needed to complete the project, hoping that the concerned parties would heed their appeal to conclude other new contracts to resume work on the project.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya: Six years on path of return for displaced Tawarghas remains blocked – Amnesty International

Six years since the Tawarghas were displaced from their hometown by Misratah militia forces in August 2011, the community of about 40,000 people are still unable to return safely to their homes, Amnesty International said today. Two months ago, in June 2017, a political agreement was signed paving the way for their return. However, the terms of the deal not been implemented and some of those who have attempted to make the journey home since have faced threats and intimidation. The agreement also fails to ensure access to justice and reparations for the horrendous abuses Tawarghas have endured in recent years. The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity, said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International. Without clear political will to enforce the agreement to ensure the Tawarghas safe return home, the public commitments made in June will be little more than an empty gesture. The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity In August 2011, fighters from Misratah attacked the neighbouring town of Tawargha, which was being used as a base to launch attacks by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. The Misratah forces drove out all of Tawarghas inhabitants, looting and burning their homes and converting it into a ghost town. Over the following six years, the Tawargha community has faced relentless reprisal attacks from Misratah forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions. To date, there has been no investigation into these abuses and no one has been held to account for these crimes. Previously, military and political leaders of Misratah have repeatedly stated that they would not allow the Tawarghas to return to their hometown. The towns former residents are now displaced throughout the country, living in makeshift accommodation, often in appalling conditions. Failure to tackle impunity The agreement, signed on 19 June 2017 between leaders from Tawargha and Misratah, the Government of National Accord and other officials, fails to ensure accountability for the crimes under international law and other grave human rights abuses committed against the Tawargha people, therby reinforcing a climate of impunity. Many in the Tawargha community welcomed it because it appeared to at least guarantee the conditions for a safe return. An agreement that blatantly ignores the horrific crimes committed against the Tawarghas was always doomed to failure. Only a deal that ensures the right of the community to return safely and prioritizes justice by ensuring that those responsible for atrocities are held accountable for their actions can offer a real way forward, said Heba Morayef. Return home blocked The first Tawargha families attempted to return three days after the agreement was signed in June. Despite public support for the deal from Misratah officials, the families were threatened and intimidated at a checkpoint by individuals from Misratah and forced to turn around and go back to Tripoli. Emad Irqayh, a Tawargha activist, told Amnesty International that he set out for the town in a convoy of 35 cars on 22 June, after coordinating with individuals from Misratah who were supportive of the return. He said he was 1km away from the last checkpoint when he saw two cars turning back. They told me they were stopped and threatened. So I called the other families who were in cars behind me and told them to turn back to avoid escalation, some of the women began crying, he said. On 29 June, during Eid, a smaller group of families made another attempt to return. One member of the Tawargha community, travelling with his 87-year-old mother, described the heartache and disappointment he felt upon his return to the town and their inability to stay there.It was a very emotional moment I wont lie to you, I had tears in my eyes, but the level of destruction of our home town is devastating, he said, adding that he and his mother spent just a few hours there before having to head back. Libyan political factions must ensure Tawarghas are protected from all forms of intimidation, threats and attacks and order all affiliated-militias to allow the community to return safely to their hometown, said Heba Morayef. It is essential that the Government of National Accord and officials in Misratah, including the Misratah Local Council, take the lead in enabling and securing the safe return of the Tawarghas. This includes monitoring the return and settlement process, rehabilitation of homes, schools, and infrastructure of the town. Libyan political factions must ensure Tawarghas are protected from all forms of intimidation, threats and attacks and order all affiliated-militias to allow the community to return safely to their hometown As well as ensuring the safe return of displaced families to Tawargha, Amnesty International calls on officials in Misratah, members of the Misratah Municipal Council and Libyas Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord and the Ministry of Justice to uphold the right of Tawargha victims to seek truth, justice and reparation for the human rights violations they have endured and continue to suffer. For more information about the atrocities carried out against the Tawarghas see: Libya:We are not safe anywhere: Tawarghas in Libya Barred from their homes: Continued displacement and persecution of Tawarghas and other communities in Libya

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Report: An Armed Group Is Stopping Migrants From Leaving Libya – TIME

Migrants wait to be rescued by Italian coast guard in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautic miles from the Libyan coast, on August 6, 2017.Angelos TzortzinisAFP/Getty Images A gun-toting group of civilians, policemen and soldiers in Libya has been preventing migrants from embarking across the Mediterranean to Italy, Reuters reports . It is believed to have caused the sudden fall in departures from Libya in July. Libyan smugglers tend to send more boats in during peak months of July and August due to good sea conditions. But migrant arrivals to Italy from North Africa, which has been the main route to Europe this year, have sharply reduced by more than 50% last month compared to July 2016. The drop has been caused by a new armed group in the city of Sabratha, according to Reuters. The group, reportedly made up of “civilians, policemen, [and] army figures” is believed to be policing the city, which is 45 miles west of Tripoli, and has been accused of running a detention center for migrants taken or turned back by smugglers. Migrants rescued on Saturday confirmed that the situation in Sabratha has changed. “They said that it was very difficult to depart from Sabratha. There are people stopping the boats before they set out, and if they get out to sea they’re immediately sent back,” Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesman in Rome, told the news organization. Reuters reports that the group might be seeking financial support from the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, whom European countries have been trying to partner with in an attempt to curb migrant arrivals. The fall in numbers comes after a series of attempts by Italy which has become the main route for arrivals this year to discourage a number of NGOs from running migrant rescue missions off the Libyan coast and cooperate with the Libyan coast guard. [ Reuters ]

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Armed group stops migrant boats from leaving Libya – The Sydney Morning Herald

Tunis/Rome: An armed group is stopping migrant boats from setting off across the Mediterranean from a city west of Tripoli that has been a springboard for people smugglers, causing a sudden drop in departures over the past month, sources in the area said. The revelation throws new light on the sharp reduction in migrant arrivals from Italy, which took over from the Aegean route as the main focus of European concerns in the crisis. Play Video Don’t Play Play Video Don’t Play Previous slide Next slide In her time aboard Sea-Watch, an aid boat rescuing migrants on the Mediterranean, Australian doctor Stefanie Pender has seen things she’ll never forget. Play Video Don’t Play Memes aplenty after President Donald Trump glances at the sun without protective glasses during the solar eclipse in the US. Play Video Don’t Play Experts warned that viewing certain parts of the solar eclipse without protective eyewear could cause partial blindness or thermal injuries. Play Video Don’t Play The last total solar eclipse to travel from one side of the US to another was in 1918, and millions took the opportunity to see the rare event. Play Video Don’t Play As reported in 2016, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay more than $100 million in suit linking talcum powder to ovarian cancer. Play Video Don’t Play A gunman shot and wounded a judge in an ambush outside an Ohio courthouse before being fatally shot by a probation officer. Play Video Don’t Play The ‘Big Ben’ bell in the British Parliament’s famous clock tower tolled for the last time on Monday before it ceased its regular bongs for four years. Play Video Don’t Play A Danish inventor charged with killing journalist Kim Wall in his home-made submarine has told a court she did die in the vessel, changing his earlier statement. In her time aboard Sea-Watch, an aid boat rescuing migrants on the Mediterranean, Australian doctor Stefanie Pender has seen things she’ll never forget. Arrivals in Italy from North Africa, the main route for migration to Europe this year, dropped by more than 50 per cent in July from a year earlier, and August arrivals so far are down even further. July and August are peak months for migrant boats because of favourable sea conditions. Sources in Sabratha, 70 km west of the capital, said the sudden drop had been caused by a new force in the seaside city, which is preventing migrants from leaving, often by locking them up. The group in Sabratha “works on the ground, the beach, to prevent the migrants leaving on boats towards Italy,” said a civil society organiser from the city, speaking on condition of anonymity. The group is made up of several hundred “civilians, policemen, army figures,” he said. It is conducting a “very strong campaign” that was launched by a “former mafia boss”, said a second Sabratha source who follows smuggling activity closely. A third source with contacts in Libya, who also asked not to be named, said the Sabratha group was making “a significant effort to police the area”. Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox. The two Sabratha sources said the group was running a detention centre for migrants who are turned back or taken from smugglers. One sent a picture of hundreds of migrants sitting in the sand in front of a high wall. One of the sources said he thought the group was seeking legitimacy and financial support from Tripoli, where European states have tried to partner with a UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to stem migrant flows. An official from the interior ministry’s department for combating illegal migration in Sabratha did not respond to a request for comment. It was not possible to contact the group, which the third source said was called Brigade 48, although other sources did not confirm this. Italy has been trying to bolster the GNA’s ability to stop people smuggling with cash, training and by sending a ship to help repair Tripoli’s coastguard and navy vessels. Some 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by sea from North Africa since 2014, testing the country’s ability to cope. More than 12,000 have died trying. Most leave from Libya’s western coast. Following a local backlash against smugglers in Zuwara in the west in 2015, Sabratha became the most frequently used departure point. Italy wants to replicate a deal with Libya that the EU struck with Turkey last year, largely shutting down the migrant route through Greece and the Balkans. With a national election looming during the first half of next year, the government in Rome is under pressure to show it can stop, or at least slow, migration. But any progress in Libya is likely to be fragile, with the country in a state of conflict since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted six years ago. Rival governments are vying for power and local militias battle each other for territory and smuggling profits. Last week Italy seized on the drop in arrivals, with Interior Minister Marco Minniti saying he saw a “light at the end of the tunnel”. Reuters

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Libya’s Biggest Oil Field Shut Down As Tensions Rise – OilPrice.com

The shutdown of Libyas Sharara oilfield, the countrys largest field, has once again shown that expected production growth of several OPEC countries should not be taken for granted. Even though several media sources have been publishing overwhelmingly optimistic reports about the security situation in the country, especially after the unexpected production boost of Libyas battered oil and gas sector, the perceived peace between General Khalifa Haftars LNA and the East Libyan government (HoR), remains shaky at best. A pipeline blockade by an armed group has hindered the loading of Sharara crude from the Zawya oil terminal since Sunday. Libyas national oil company, NOC, has already declared a force majeure. The Sharara oil field, run by a JV of Libyas NOC and international oil companies Repsol, Total, OMV and Statoil, is crucial to the revival of Libyan oil production, as it is currently producing around 280,000 bpd. In the past several weeks, production has been shut down several times, due to protests by oil workers and armed guards. Currently, the location of the blockade, as well as the demands of the protesters remain unknown. Analysts are still optimistic about the future of Libyas oil sector, but given the ongoing battle for power within the country, this could be wishful thinking. The security situation has drastically improved, and the NOC, in cooperation with national security forces and the oil guards, have been able to deal with continuing strikes and disruptions effectively. NOC CEO Mustafa Sanallas efforts to get operations running, even visiting conflict areas in person, has made a substantial difference in the region. The NOC CEO has also attempted to woo international oil companies to resume investment in the countrys oil sector, while ending blockades of ports and reopening attractive fields. Additionally, the primary complaints of oil workers have been addressed, as outstanding salary payments and security issues were previously not met. Libyas oil production is now officially above 1 million bpd, which is almost 4 times more than the year prior. Back in 2011, Libya produced around 1.6 million bpd, but the civil war following the removal of Libyas dictator Muammar Khaddaffi saw oil production plunge. Libyan oil experts expect a steady 1.2 million bpd production by the end of 2017. Related:Forget Oil Prices, Oil Majors Are A Buy Despite the NOCs best efforts to boost output, recent developments on the ground are very worrying. After a short thaw between the main players in the conflict, the Libyan government (HoR) and the Libyan general Haftars LNA, tensions are once again on the rise. The deal between the HoR and LNA now is seen by others as a threat to their own positions. A real political solution will not only lead to power clashes with the other armed militias and IS affiliates, but could also have direct negative repercussions on oil and gas production. For all players, access to the oil and gas sector is essential. The revenues from oil and gas production are not only the main lifeline for the country but are also funding the armed militias in the conflict. At the same time, international pressure on both sides could lead to increased insecurity. The arrest by the LNA of the commander of its elite forces unit, Mahmoud Al-Werfalli, as demanded by the International Criminal Court (ICC), may lead to a possible internal conflict. Al-Werfalli is wanted by the ICC for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners. The LNA has arrested him to be investigated by a military prosecutor. Werfallis Special Forces is seen as a powerful elite unit under LNA control which joined the Benghazi campaign in its early stages. It is unclear at present if the LNA will hand over Al-Werfalli to the ICC in due course. The group also holds the control of most of Libyas oil and gas fields. A potential power struggle within this group could once again lead to blockades, outages and falling exports. By Cyril Widdershoven for Oilprice.com More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed


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