(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
The Maltese-flagged tanker, the Seachance, has left the port of Marsa el-Hariga after Libya’s eastern government blocked it from loading a shipment of 600,000 barrels of crude oil for the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli.
The eastern government’s parallel NOC based in Tobruk prevented port workers from loading the Seachance in a defiant move after its first attempt at exporting oil failed when the United Nations blacklisted the Distya Ameya and sent it back to Libya to be unloaded.
The standoff between the two oil companies underlines the broader political conflict between the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives (HoR) in the east, which has been reluctant in endorsing the new unity government.
An official for the Tripoli-NOC, the only company in Libya that is legally allowed to export oil, stated that oil production could drop by 120,000 bpd if it is prevented from loading oil at the Marsa el-Hariga port.
The head of the parallel NOC in the east said that they did not intended on closing the port, however they blocked the Tripoli-NOC from loading the Seachance for purely bureaucratic reasons.
Due to ongoing violence and political conflict, Libya’s oil output has dropped to less than a quarter of the 1.6 million bpd it was producing before the 2011 uprising which toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi.
The GNA has warned that any efforts by the eastern government to sell oil separately could further plunge Libya in political conflict.