By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 7 July 2014:
The order of force majuere has been lifted on the eastern oil terminals . . .[restrict]of Ras Lanuf and Sidra following their handover by federalist forces five days ago.
Mohammed Al-Harrari, the spokesman for the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which imposed the order, told the Libya Herald that it had been lifted at the order of the government. He stated simply that it had not been withdrawn earlier because the proper request had not gone through the necessary channels.
Force majeure was declared in respect of the two terminals, as well as Zueitina and Brega, on 18 August last year, shortly after Ibrahim Jedhran’s self-declared, federalist Cyrenaica Political Bureau (CPB) closed them.
The two terminals are in good order with the exception of a few technical problems work is ready to resume, according to the new head of the Petroleum Facilities Guards, Ali Al-Ahrash.
However, Harrari has said that oil fields supplying the newly reopened terminals remain closed. Moreover, four days ago, members of the Ajdabiya Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) belonging to the Zwai tribe said they were closing oilfields at Jalu and Jakharra in protest at the deal struck between the the government and the CPB. In fact there was no production taking place at the fields because of the terminals being closed.
Responding to the threats, the head of Operation Dignity’s air forces, Air Force Brigadier-General Saqr Adam Geroushi, yesterday declared that any group involved in blockades following the deal between the government and Jadhran would be bombed. He said PFG forces at Jalu and Jakharra had occupied the oilfields illegally and added that Dignity forces had already carried out reconnaissance missions over the areas in question.
Meanwhile, a senior oil industry figure whose company uses one of the two terminals for its exports said that, despite the handover, it was most unlikely there would be any increase in oil production until after Eid. There was oil in storage at the terminals which could be lifted, but at the fields most local oil workers had left their posts, travelling home for Ramadan, and foreign oil workers had been withdrawn because of current security conditions. Only once Eid was over could oil companies begin to reorganise personnel and plan to restart production.
Harrari yesterday said that national oil production currently stood at 325,000 barrels per day, a modest increase on 320, 000 b/d some ten days ago. He explained the improvement was due mostly to increased efficiency at those oilfields which had recently been reopened.