By Farah Waleed.
Tripoli, 1 July 2014:
Cyrenaica federalists forces led by . . .[restrict]Ibrahim Jadhran are to end their closure of Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil terminals tomorrow, the spokesman for the self-proclaimed Cyrenaica government, Ali Al-Hassi has told the Libya Herald.
He said that there had been talks today in Tobruk with the government and that, as a result, the federalists had decided the two ports would reopen with effect from tomorrow as a “goodwill gesture” to the new House of Representatives.
The House, elected last week, is to be based in Benghazi.
The government negotiators, according to Hassi, were led by Justice Minister Salah Marghani and Deputy Finance Minister Muraja Ghaith. First Deputy President of Congress, Ezzidden Al-Awami also took part, he said.
The oil terminals at Zueitina, Ras Lanuf and Sidra were closed by Jadhran’s forces last August in an attempt to force the authorities to agree to demands for federalism and to investigate claims of illegal oil sales. Activities at the fourth terminal, Hariga in Tobruk, were also affected, although Jadhran’s forces had less of an influence there.
An attempt in March by the federalists to load oil on to a tanker in Sidra triggered the sacking of Ali Zeidan as prime minister.
Soon afterwards, at the beginning of April, with Abdullah Al-Thinni at the helm as prime minister, Ghaith negotiated with the federalists and agreed to set up a committee to investigate oil corruption. As a result, Zueitina and Hariga were handed back to government control by Jadhran. Hariga has since been operating more or less normally, but although force majeure was lifted at Zueitina, only one tanker has taken on oil there. Technical problems with equipment have been blamed for its continued closure.
The re-opening of Ras Lanuf and Sidra is likely to be seen as a major success for the Thinni government and will massively ease its financial problems. It is also likely to impact on the international oil market causing oil prices to drop. [/restrict]