On October 11, 2020, Libya’s National Oil Company announced resuming production at the country’s largest oil field as rival officials from eastern and western Libya began peace talks, part of preliminary negotiations ahead an UN-brokered dialogue set to take place next month.
In a statement on Saturday, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said Tunisia would host “the first face-to-face meeting” of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) “in early November, following preparatory virtual consultations”.
The forum’s aim is “to generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to the holding of national elections in the shortest possible timeframe”, it added.
UNSMIL said it “has made it a requirement for participants to the LPDF to recuse themselves from political and sovereign positions in any new executive arrangement … and to refrain from the use of hate speech and incitement to violence”.
The National Oil Corporation said it lifted the force majeure imposed at the southwestern Sharara oil field after it reached “an honor agreement” with forces loyal to Khalifa HAFTAR to end “all obstructions” at the field.
The El Sharara oil field located in the Murzuq Desert in southwest Libya is the biggest oil field of the North African country Libya, which is believed to hold the largest proven oil reserves in Africa.
The corporation’s announcement comes three weeks after HAFTAR, who was behind a year-long military attempt to capture, Tripoli, announced an end to a blockade of the nation’s vital oil fields.
The September 18 breakthrough was the result of a so-called “Libyan-Libyan dialogue” led by Ahmed MATIQ, the rival Tripoli government’s deputy prime minister, seeking to create a new mechanism to distribute the country’s petrodollars more equitably.
Wolfgang PUSZTAI, an analyst and Austria’s former defense attaché to Libya, said the opening of Sharara has “no direct impact on the political process” despite there being some positive signs after recent negotiations in Morocco. “The agreement (to reopen) could be terminated after October 17”, “As we have seen with Sharara, HAFTAR is probably not in a position to order a stop (of oil production) all over Libya … at least as long as the funds remain in the Libyan foreign bank and are not transferred to the central bank of Libya.”, said PUSZTAI.
Libya’s oil production had reached at least 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) before powerful eastern tribes loyal to HAFTAR first seized control of the oil facilities to protest against what they said was the inequitable distribution of revenues.
El Sharara would produce 40.000 bpd, with total production in the country at 355.000 bpd said a Libyan source to Reuters. Sharara was producing 300.000 bpd of oil before the blockade. The oil blockade has deprived the corporation of nearly $10bn in revenue and led to nationwide fuel shortages.
This article was edited using the data from the Nsenergybusiness.com Arabnews.com, Wbng.com, and Aljazeera.com