Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

Britain sends 9m to Libya to fight terror threat and migrant crisis – The Guardian

Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, shakes hands with his Libyan counterpart, Mohamed Taha Siala, in Tripoli. Photograph: PA

Boris Johnson has announced a 9m aid package for Libya to help deal with the problems of migrants risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean and a growing threat of terrorist groups from the war-stricken country.

The foreign secretary announced the extra funding as he made his second trip to Tripoli in just four months, where he visited UK naval officers training the Libyan coastguard in search and rescue.

The country has been in crisis since the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by rebels and a Nato-led bombing mission backed by David Cameron, which a committee of MPs have since described as an ill-conceived mission that helped fuel the rise of Islamic State in north Africa.

Johnson visited Tripoli in May to meet Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of Libyas UN-backed unity government, but undertook a second trip on Wednesday to announce extra UK funding to help stabilise the country.

During the trip, he described Libya as the front line for many challenges which, left unchecked, can pose problems for us in the UK particularly illegal migration and the threat from terrorism.

He added: Thats why it is so important that we work with the Libyan government and our partners to help bring stability to Libya, stopping it from becoming a fertile ground for terrorists, gun runners and people traffickers in close proximity to Europe.

The latest money includes 4m to remove improvised explosive devices from areas where Isis have been pushed back, another 1m towards a fund for critical infrastructure, 2.75m for supporting womens participation in peacemaking and 1.3m in support for food and healthcare for refugees.

Before the foreign secretarys visit, Sarraj warned that would-be terrorists could be entering Europe among the tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean each year.

But Fionna Smyth, Oxfam head of humanitarian campaigns, said it was wrong for the UK to back a solution of turning people back to Libya when they were trying to flee.

She said it was disturbing that Boris Johnson is talking about preventing people who are fleeing violence and destitution at home from leaving Libya. Research we conducted with people who fled through Libya found that all but one of the women questioned had suffered sexual exploitation and three quarters of people had witnessed murder or torture, she said. Aid for people travelling through Libya is welcome but Britain should be helping them to find safety, not trapping them in a country where they face violence and abuse.

The collapse of the economy and oil production has led to political vacuum in which extremist militia groups have proliferated and tens thousands of refugees have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

The countrys political landscape is also divided into two factions, with Sarraj controlling part of the country and his rival, Khalifa Haftar, dominating other areas. But the two men have agreed to work towards fresh presidential elections by March.

Johnson also visited Tunisia on Tuesday evening for talks with Ghassan Salam, the new UN special representative on Libya, who has been brought in to help break the political deadlock.

While in Tunis, he met senior members of the Tunisian government after the UKs decision to lift its advice against travelling to most of the country. The guidance was put in place after the terrorist attack of 2015 in Sousse, where 30 British holidaymakers were among the 38 victims.

After visiting the Bardo Museum, which was also subject to a terrorist attack in 2015, Johnson said improvements to security in Tunisia had allowed the UK to change its travel advice.

The UK is a steadfast partner for Tunisia in building its prosperity and security, and combating terrorism, and I look forward to even stronger ties between us, he said.

The country, which used to be a popular tourism destination, remains in a state of emergency after a suicide attack on a police bus in November 2015.

The Foreign Office continues to warn that terrorists were still likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia and that people should remain vigilant, especially around religious festivals and sites.

It also continues to advise against all but essential travel to the south of the country and warns against any travel at all to areas close to the border with Libya and some it shares with Algeria.

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Britain sends 9m to Libya to fight terror threat and migrant crisis – The Guardian

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Libya’s Largest Oilfield Offline, Amid Uncertainty, ISIS Beheadings – OilPrice.com

Libyas largest oilfield, the Sharara, remains offline despite contradictory news reports this morning suggesting that exports would resume.

Weighing in on oil price uncertainty, market watchers have been in a state of confusion over varying reports over the past three days as to the status of exports from Libyas biggest producing oilfield.

Earlier this morning, news reports citing National Oil Company (NOC) sources said production had resumed at Sharara, following a three-day blockade of the pipeline that feeds crude to Zawiya export terminal.

Reports said that the Tripoli-based NOCrecognized by the UN as the legitimate NOC–announced it was lifting the force majeure on shipments of oil pumped from the countrys largest oilfieldthe Shararato the Zawiya port.

However, a Reuters report citing unnamed Libyan officials, the field remains offline for unclear reasons. The same report noted that operations had restarted yesterday at least once, for a short period.

They open one valve, they close the other, one unnamed sources told Reuters. It was suggested that negotiations were underway for a resolution, though the nature of the problem remains undefined.

As rivalry between two governments, two national oil companies, a multitude of armed factions and ISIS continues, the future of Libyan exports remains highly uncertain. Related:Is This The First In A Slew Of Megadeals In Oil?

The blockade was the latest in a string of disruptions that have suspended production at Sharara several times this year already.

Just two weeks ago, an attack on a control room at Zawiya caused the shutdown of production at Sharara. It later surfaced that the attackers were protesting the arrest of four Libyans in Saudi Arabia in connection to a kidnapping of Egyptian diplomats in Tripoli.

Shararas production has also been interrupted by militants blocking the pipeline to Zawiya and theft of vehicles, which prompted NOC to tighten security.

Sharara pumps about 270,000/280,000 bpd and its restart last December has been key to Libyas oil output growth, which exceeds 1 million bpd. The field supplies around one-quarter of Libyas total output and has experienced several production stops since its restart.

Libya boasts the biggest crude oil reserves in Africa, but the civil war that ravaged the country after the removal of Muammar Gaddafi crippled its oil industry. Before the war, Libya produced 1.6 million barrels of crude daily. By the end of this year, the Tripoli-based NOC aims to hit a target of 1.2 million bpd short of the pre-war rate but double the March 2017 daily average.

Rival factions in Libyas east have attempted to sell oil on their own through the Benghazi-based NOC, which is not recognized by United Nations Security Council, which views the Tripoli-based NOC as the only legitimate exporter of Libyan oil.

It is only a fragile alliance and an even more fragile game of balancing power that is keeping Libyan oil flowing. The Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by powerful General Khalifa Haftar, is aligned with the eastern government and parliament. Haftar is responsible for freeing up ports that had been blockaded for years and allowing the Tripoli-based NOC to export.

The reported beheading of 11 people at a central Libyan checkpoint controlled by Haftars LNA on Wednesday also indicates that the conflict to control the countrys oil wealth is further intensifying.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Islamists behead 11 in attack on checkpoint in central Libya – Chicago Tribune

At least 11 people were beheaded on Wednesday in an attack by Islamist fighters on a checkpoint controlled by forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar in central Libya, according to a spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army.

Nine soldiers and two civilians were among those “slaughtered” at the checkpoint, Colonel Ahmad al-Masmari said in a tweet, blaming Islamic State.

Both Islamic State and Benghazi Defense Brigades, another Islamist militia opposed to Haftar, have fighters in the Jufra region where the attack took place, some 310 miles south of the coastal city of Sirte.

Haftar is aligned with a government based in the east of Libya, which is vying for power with the United Nations-backed unity administration of Fayez al-Sarraj in the capital, Tripoli. Haftar’s forces now control most of eastern Libya, including key oil facilities.

The North African oil exporter slipped into chaos after long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed in a 2011 revolt. Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups exploited the ensuing lawlessness to gain a foothold in Sirte but were driven out by fighters loyal to the Tripoli government following lengthy battles last year.

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3 Daesh orphans return to Sudan from Libya – Anadolu Agency

By Mohammed Amin

KHARTOUM

Three Sudanese children were reunited with their extended family in Sudan on Tuesday after their parents, who had joined the Daesh terrorist group, had been killed in Libya.

Three of the children, who had spent three years in a child care house in Tripoli, hail to the family of fighter Mohamed Abuzaid, who had been killed while fighting with Daesh in Libya.

They have been returned to Sudan to reunite with their extended family,” lawyer Adel Abdul Ghani told Anadolu Agency.

He said Sudanese security organs and the Red Cross have played a major role in rescuing the children and returning them back to Sudan.

Abuzaid was detained in Sudan in 2008 for involvement in the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He fled prison in 2011 and travelled to Somalia, where he joined Al-Shabaab militant group.

He later left Somalia to Libya and joined Daesh terrorist group in the troubled North African country.

His brother Mohamed Abuzaid had also joined Daesh in 2014.

There are no official estimates of how many Sudanese have joined Daesh, but unofficial estimates put their numbers at hundreds.

More children to be returned

Sudanese assistant consular in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte, Obied Mohamed Obied, said the children have been recovered after intensive talks with Libyan authorities.

Speaking to reporters, he said negotiations were still underway with Libyan authorities to hand over another six children still held in Red Cross facilities in Libya.

Sirte was a Daesh stronghold until last year when Libyan unity government forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, ousted the terrorist group from the coastal city.

Altijani Ibrahim, the head of the National Intelligence Sudanese Services (NISS)’s anti-terrorism department, said the return of the children was part of Sudan’s efforts to combat terrorism.

In June, eight Daesh orphans were returned to Sudan after their parents had either been killed or arrested in Libya, which fell into chaos after the ouster and subsequent death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 uprising.

Sudan is on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993.

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Price of oil slumps on rising production in Libya – Business Day (registration)

Amsterdam Oil prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns about rising production from Libya feeding into an oversupplied market and a surprise increase in US petrol inventories.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 27 US cents at $51.60 a barrel at 9.50am GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $47.67, down 16c.

Production from Libyas Sharara oilfield, the conflict-riven countrys largest, has been see-sawing. The field remained shut on Wednesday, two Libyan oil sources said. The field had restarted at least once on Tuesday amid conflicting reports about whether it had reopened.

“The flood of news reports makes it clear that the situation in Libya is still chaotic and that conditions in the country are still far from normal,” Commerzbank analysts wrote.

Sharara recently reached output of 280,000 barrels per day, but closed this week due to a pipeline blockade. Its production is key to Libyas oil output, which surged above 1-million barrels per day in late June, about four times its level in the middle of 2016.

Libyas rising output is a headache for oil cartel Opec, which together with nonOpec producers including Russia has pledged to cut about 1.8-million barrels per day of supplies between January 2017 and March 2018 in an attempt to remove a global glut.

Additionally, industry data released by the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday that US petrol stocks rose by 1.4 million barrels in the week to August 18, compared with analysts expectations of a 3.5-million-barrel drop.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage Oanda, said rising US petrol inventories were “not a good sign during the US summer driving season”.

Official inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration was due later on Wednesday.

Reuters

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Former Libyan prime minister released after being ‘kidnapped in Tripoli’ – Telegraph.co.uk

Haitham Tajouri, the commander of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade,nominally supports the Government of National Unity that Mr Serraj heads.

The GNA has attempted to incorporate Mr Tajouri and his militia into Tripolis security apparatus but it is not clear what, if any, control Mr Serraj has over the group.

Reports in Libyan media suggested the TRB may have been acting on a warrant issued by Sadiq al-Sour, the Libyanattorney general,apparently relating to allegations of financial misconduct when he was in office.

However Zeidan Zeidan said he had been assured by the attorney general there was no warrant and no court case had been brought.

“If there was a warrant, it would have been an arrest, not a kidnapping,” he said.

Mr Serrajs office did not respond to emailed questions on Tuesday. Repeated calls to his press office went unanswered.

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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.

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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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Britain sends 9m to Libya to fight terror threat and migrant crisis – The Guardian

Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, shakes hands with his Libyan counterpart, Mohamed Taha Siala, in Tripoli. Photograph: PA Boris Johnson has announced a 9m aid package for Libya to help deal with the problems of migrants risking their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean and a growing threat of terrorist groups from the war-stricken country. The foreign secretary announced the extra funding as he made his second trip to Tripoli in just four months, where he visited UK naval officers training the Libyan coastguard in search and rescue. The country has been in crisis since the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by rebels and a Nato-led bombing mission backed by David Cameron, which a committee of MPs have since described as an ill-conceived mission that helped fuel the rise of Islamic State in north Africa. Johnson visited Tripoli in May to meet Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of Libyas UN-backed unity government, but undertook a second trip on Wednesday to announce extra UK funding to help stabilise the country. During the trip, he described Libya as the front line for many challenges which, left unchecked, can pose problems for us in the UK particularly illegal migration and the threat from terrorism. He added: Thats why it is so important that we work with the Libyan government and our partners to help bring stability to Libya, stopping it from becoming a fertile ground for terrorists, gun runners and people traffickers in close proximity to Europe. The latest money includes 4m to remove improvised explosive devices from areas where Isis have been pushed back, another 1m towards a fund for critical infrastructure, 2.75m for supporting womens participation in peacemaking and 1.3m in support for food and healthcare for refugees. Before the foreign secretarys visit, Sarraj warned that would-be terrorists could be entering Europe among the tens of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean each year. But Fionna Smyth, Oxfam head of humanitarian campaigns, said it was wrong for the UK to back a solution of turning people back to Libya when they were trying to flee. She said it was disturbing that Boris Johnson is talking about preventing people who are fleeing violence and destitution at home from leaving Libya. Research we conducted with people who fled through Libya found that all but one of the women questioned had suffered sexual exploitation and three quarters of people had witnessed murder or torture, she said. Aid for people travelling through Libya is welcome but Britain should be helping them to find safety, not trapping them in a country where they face violence and abuse. The collapse of the economy and oil production has led to political vacuum in which extremist militia groups have proliferated and tens thousands of refugees have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The countrys political landscape is also divided into two factions, with Sarraj controlling part of the country and his rival, Khalifa Haftar, dominating other areas. But the two men have agreed to work towards fresh presidential elections by March. Johnson also visited Tunisia on Tuesday evening for talks with Ghassan Salam, the new UN special representative on Libya, who has been brought in to help break the political deadlock. While in Tunis, he met senior members of the Tunisian government after the UKs decision to lift its advice against travelling to most of the country. The guidance was put in place after the terrorist attack of 2015 in Sousse, where 30 British holidaymakers were among the 38 victims. After visiting the Bardo Museum, which was also subject to a terrorist attack in 2015, Johnson said improvements to security in Tunisia had allowed the UK to change its travel advice. The UK is a steadfast partner for Tunisia in building its prosperity and security, and combating terrorism, and I look forward to even stronger ties between us, he said. The country, which used to be a popular tourism destination, remains in a state of emergency after a suicide attack on a police bus in November 2015. The Foreign Office continues to warn that terrorists were still likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia and that people should remain vigilant, especially around religious festivals and sites. It also continues to advise against all but essential travel to the south of the country and warns against any travel at all to areas close to the border with Libya and some it shares with Algeria.

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Libya’s Largest Oilfield Offline, Amid Uncertainty, ISIS Beheadings – OilPrice.com

Libyas largest oilfield, the Sharara, remains offline despite contradictory news reports this morning suggesting that exports would resume. Weighing in on oil price uncertainty, market watchers have been in a state of confusion over varying reports over the past three days as to the status of exports from Libyas biggest producing oilfield. Earlier this morning, news reports citing National Oil Company (NOC) sources said production had resumed at Sharara, following a three-day blockade of the pipeline that feeds crude to Zawiya export terminal. Reports said that the Tripoli-based NOCrecognized by the UN as the legitimate NOC–announced it was lifting the force majeure on shipments of oil pumped from the countrys largest oilfieldthe Shararato the Zawiya port. However, a Reuters report citing unnamed Libyan officials, the field remains offline for unclear reasons. The same report noted that operations had restarted yesterday at least once, for a short period. They open one valve, they close the other, one unnamed sources told Reuters. It was suggested that negotiations were underway for a resolution, though the nature of the problem remains undefined. As rivalry between two governments, two national oil companies, a multitude of armed factions and ISIS continues, the future of Libyan exports remains highly uncertain. Related:Is This The First In A Slew Of Megadeals In Oil? The blockade was the latest in a string of disruptions that have suspended production at Sharara several times this year already. Just two weeks ago, an attack on a control room at Zawiya caused the shutdown of production at Sharara. It later surfaced that the attackers were protesting the arrest of four Libyans in Saudi Arabia in connection to a kidnapping of Egyptian diplomats in Tripoli. Shararas production has also been interrupted by militants blocking the pipeline to Zawiya and theft of vehicles, which prompted NOC to tighten security. Sharara pumps about 270,000/280,000 bpd and its restart last December has been key to Libyas oil output growth, which exceeds 1 million bpd. The field supplies around one-quarter of Libyas total output and has experienced several production stops since its restart. Libya boasts the biggest crude oil reserves in Africa, but the civil war that ravaged the country after the removal of Muammar Gaddafi crippled its oil industry. Before the war, Libya produced 1.6 million barrels of crude daily. By the end of this year, the Tripoli-based NOC aims to hit a target of 1.2 million bpd short of the pre-war rate but double the March 2017 daily average. Rival factions in Libyas east have attempted to sell oil on their own through the Benghazi-based NOC, which is not recognized by United Nations Security Council, which views the Tripoli-based NOC as the only legitimate exporter of Libyan oil. It is only a fragile alliance and an even more fragile game of balancing power that is keeping Libyan oil flowing. The Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by powerful General Khalifa Haftar, is aligned with the eastern government and parliament. Haftar is responsible for freeing up ports that had been blockaded for years and allowing the Tripoli-based NOC to export. The reported beheading of 11 people at a central Libyan checkpoint controlled by Haftars LNA on Wednesday also indicates that the conflict to control the countrys oil wealth is further intensifying. By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

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Islamists behead 11 in attack on checkpoint in central Libya – Chicago Tribune

At least 11 people were beheaded on Wednesday in an attack by Islamist fighters on a checkpoint controlled by forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar in central Libya, according to a spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army. Nine soldiers and two civilians were among those “slaughtered” at the checkpoint, Colonel Ahmad al-Masmari said in a tweet, blaming Islamic State. Both Islamic State and Benghazi Defense Brigades, another Islamist militia opposed to Haftar, have fighters in the Jufra region where the attack took place, some 310 miles south of the coastal city of Sirte. Haftar is aligned with a government based in the east of Libya, which is vying for power with the United Nations-backed unity administration of Fayez al-Sarraj in the capital, Tripoli. Haftar’s forces now control most of eastern Libya, including key oil facilities. The North African oil exporter slipped into chaos after long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed in a 2011 revolt. Islamic State and other radical Islamist groups exploited the ensuing lawlessness to gain a foothold in Sirte but were driven out by fighters loyal to the Tripoli government following lengthy battles last year.

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3 Daesh orphans return to Sudan from Libya – Anadolu Agency

By Mohammed Amin KHARTOUM Three Sudanese children were reunited with their extended family in Sudan on Tuesday after their parents, who had joined the Daesh terrorist group, had been killed in Libya. Three of the children, who had spent three years in a child care house in Tripoli, hail to the family of fighter Mohamed Abuzaid, who had been killed while fighting with Daesh in Libya. They have been returned to Sudan to reunite with their extended family,” lawyer Adel Abdul Ghani told Anadolu Agency. He said Sudanese security organs and the Red Cross have played a major role in rescuing the children and returning them back to Sudan. Abuzaid was detained in Sudan in 2008 for involvement in the killing of a U.S. diplomat. He fled prison in 2011 and travelled to Somalia, where he joined Al-Shabaab militant group. He later left Somalia to Libya and joined Daesh terrorist group in the troubled North African country. His brother Mohamed Abuzaid had also joined Daesh in 2014. There are no official estimates of how many Sudanese have joined Daesh, but unofficial estimates put their numbers at hundreds. More children to be returned Sudanese assistant consular in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte, Obied Mohamed Obied, said the children have been recovered after intensive talks with Libyan authorities. Speaking to reporters, he said negotiations were still underway with Libyan authorities to hand over another six children still held in Red Cross facilities in Libya. Sirte was a Daesh stronghold until last year when Libyan unity government forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, ousted the terrorist group from the coastal city. Altijani Ibrahim, the head of the National Intelligence Sudanese Services (NISS)’s anti-terrorism department, said the return of the children was part of Sudan’s efforts to combat terrorism. In June, eight Daesh orphans were returned to Sudan after their parents had either been killed or arrested in Libya, which fell into chaos after the ouster and subsequent death of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 uprising. Sudan is on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993.

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Price of oil slumps on rising production in Libya – Business Day (registration)

Amsterdam Oil prices fell on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns about rising production from Libya feeding into an oversupplied market and a surprise increase in US petrol inventories. Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 27 US cents at $51.60 a barrel at 9.50am GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $47.67, down 16c. Production from Libyas Sharara oilfield, the conflict-riven countrys largest, has been see-sawing. The field remained shut on Wednesday, two Libyan oil sources said. The field had restarted at least once on Tuesday amid conflicting reports about whether it had reopened. “The flood of news reports makes it clear that the situation in Libya is still chaotic and that conditions in the country are still far from normal,” Commerzbank analysts wrote. Sharara recently reached output of 280,000 barrels per day, but closed this week due to a pipeline blockade. Its production is key to Libyas oil output, which surged above 1-million barrels per day in late June, about four times its level in the middle of 2016. Libyas rising output is a headache for oil cartel Opec, which together with nonOpec producers including Russia has pledged to cut about 1.8-million barrels per day of supplies between January 2017 and March 2018 in an attempt to remove a global glut. Additionally, industry data released by the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday that US petrol stocks rose by 1.4 million barrels in the week to August 18, compared with analysts expectations of a 3.5-million-barrel drop. Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage Oanda, said rising US petrol inventories were “not a good sign during the US summer driving season”. Official inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration was due later on Wednesday. Reuters

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

Former Libyan prime minister released after being ‘kidnapped in Tripoli’ – Telegraph.co.uk

Haitham Tajouri, the commander of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade,nominally supports the Government of National Unity that Mr Serraj heads. The GNA has attempted to incorporate Mr Tajouri and his militia into Tripolis security apparatus but it is not clear what, if any, control Mr Serraj has over the group. Reports in Libyan media suggested the TRB may have been acting on a warrant issued by Sadiq al-Sour, the Libyanattorney general,apparently relating to allegations of financial misconduct when he was in office. However Zeidan Zeidan said he had been assured by the attorney general there was no warrant and no court case had been brought. “If there was a warrant, it would have been an arrest, not a kidnapping,” he said. Mr Serrajs office did not respond to emailed questions on Tuesday. Repeated calls to his press office went unanswered.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

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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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Libya  Comments Closed

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


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