By Callum Paton.
Tripoli, 24 May 2014:
The chairman of the National Oil Company (NOC), Nuri Berruien, has resigned. He has been replaced . . .[restrict]by his deputy, Mustafa Abdullah Sonallah, according to an NOC announcement.
NOC Spokesman Mohammed Al-Harrari told the Libyan News Agency LANA that Berruien had resigned for reasons unrelated to the current political crisis. However, a senior source inside the oil industry has told the Libya Herald while he believed Berruien had retired for reasons of age, that current security problems was also believed to have been an influencing factor.
He said that the security situation meant that oil officials, particularly those in management positions, had to keep a low profile. The source said the series of embargoes and blockades imposed by various groups on oil facilities, particularly the ongoing eastern oil terminal crisis had taken their toll on the industry.
Oil production rose to 1.6 million barrels per day in 2012 following the revolution but was cut dramatically in the second half of 2013 due to a number of armed blockades on Libya’s facilities. Last month, the NOC announced that the country’s oil fields had reached a production low of 220,000 b/d.
Berruien had been expected to speak at the NOC’s upcoming Oil & Gas Forum in London.
The new chairman, Sonallah, has worked for the NOC since the revolution and was previously a processing engineer of longstanding at the Ras Lanuf Oil and Gas Processing Company (Rasco), an NOC subsidiary.