The first oil exports from a libyan port blockaded since january by khalifa haftar, the renegade general trying to seize power in the country, are due to be loaded on to a tanker on wednesday, according to the state-owned arabian gulf oil company.
Agoco said that the delta hellas tanker would enter hariga port on wednesday and load 1m barrels of oil from the port's storage.
The export of oil from hariga was made possible by a controversial russian-backed agreement announced on friday between gen haftar and ahmed maiteeg, deputy prime minister of the internationally recognised government based in the libyan capital, tripoli.
The deal was negotiated by mr maiteeg independently of ministers in the government of national accord, which gen haftar has been trying to unseat. russia is a main backer of the military strongman who has a power base in eastern libya.
The countrys national oil corporation has lifted force majeure on exports from three oil ports, which it said were safe because they were free from armed groups and russian mercenaries fighting alongside gen haftars forces. the ports hariga, zueitina and brega are all in eastern libya.
Noc, the only entity in the war-torn country authorised by the un security council to export oil, said it would not lift restrictions on installations where armed groups remained. gen haftar controls most of the oilfields and ports in libya. his blockade imposed to undermine the gna by depriving it of revenue has reduced the countrys oil output from 1.2m barrels per day to less than 200,000 from mainly offshore fields.
Analysts, however, remain sceptical that the oil will continue to flow because the deal negotiated by mr maiteeg faces opposition within the gna and from influential military figures in western libya. it refers to the establishment of a joint commission that would oversee a distribution of oil receipts between west and east something that neither the gna nor the central bank of libya, which is the sole body authorised to receive the proceeds from exports, has agreed to.
I am convinced the gna wont adhere to the agreement maiteeg negotiated, said wolfram lacher, senior associate at the german institute for international and security affairs. revenue from export is supposed to go to the central bank in tripoli. he added that noc appeared to be working on an alternative arrangement for payments, which has us backing, and which would place proceeds in a separate account for a set period pending a political settlement. it is unclear whether haftar and the central bank will accept this so the agreement may yet collapse halting exports, he said.
Beyond the politics, mustafa sanalla, chairman of noc, told the financial times that libyas ability to ramp up production depended on three factors. firstly. the extent of the damage to infrastructure caused by the unplanned shutdowns, which we will assess as soon as possible. secondly, the availability of budgets to fund the repairs and other operations. thirdly, whether noc is allowed to control security at its facilities, rather than being continually plagued by armed groups blockading our facilities in pursuit of political or financial goals.