27 June – 3 July: NOC declared force majeure on crude exports from Zueitina and Hariga oil ports

Jul 3, 2018 | Libyan actors

On 2 July, the internationally-recognised National Oil Corporation (NOC) declared force majeure on crude exports from Zueitina and Hariga oil ports. Combined with the force majeure already declared on exports from Ras Lanuf and Sidra after Ibrahim Jadhran and his allies seized the ports on 14 June, this shuts in around 850,000 bpd of oil production at a current market value of more than 60 million USD per day.

The NOC’s latest move comes in response to the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) decision on 25 June to transfer control of the Oil Crescent oil ports to the parallel Benghazi-based NOC, which resulted in scheduled tankers being prevented from loading crude at both Zueitina and Hariga last week. Tankers waiting to load from Sidra and Ras Lanuf were redirected to other pick-ups at sea and from Malta. Only Brega port remains functioning in the Oil Crescent, but this port is also expected to shut in the near term as political pressure mounts on rival authorities to take measures and counter measures in this political struggle over resource control.

On 27 June, the US, France, Britain and Italy issued a joint statement stressing that Libya’s oil resources must remain under the control of the legitimate NOC and the ‘sole oversight of the GNA’. The same day, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a statement calling for de-escalation and the return of oil resources to the control of the recognized Libyan authorities, reiterating the UNSCRs that attribute the NOC with the exclusive right to export Libya’s oil.

On 1 July, the NOC published a detailed statement listing the specific impacts expected to hit each of its subsidiary companies and production from fields. In addition to the 850,000bpd loss of crude exports, the NOC said output of natural gas used for local power supplies and oil and gas field operations would fall by 710 million standard cubic feet per day, and that more than 20,000 bpd of condensate would be lost. The NOC said this would negatively impact power generation at the Zueitina and North Benghazi power stations as the NOC is already facing a deficit in the fuel import budget and will not be able to compensate the lost gas by importing more liquid fuel from abroad. The statement added that once stored crude was used, refineries at Brega, Sarir and Tobruk would be forced to close. Brega port is expected to be shut under force majeure soon and at present it is unclear why the NOC did not include it in the announcement.