Tripoli, 7 June
Libyan Oil Minister Abdulrahman Ben Yazza has opened an office of his ministry in Benghazi, in a move that . . .[restrict]is seen as seeking to assuage feelings in eastern Libya, the cradle of the revolution, that is has once again become marginalised.
Though the Ghadames basin is looming larger as a new oil and gas frontier, the east of the country remains the seat of the oil industry. Until Qaddafi threw out the monarchy, the Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) was headquartered in Benghazi.
The oil ministry’s decision to open a Benghazi office has been described by one government spokesman as part of an effort to decentralise. Given modern communications, a local office would not seem strictly necessary from an operational point of view. However according to a European diplomat, the symbolic nature of the move remains important and may help counter local suspicions that the region is once again being overlooked since the centre of power and government shifted to Tripoli.