Field Marshal Haftar Tells Bloomberg that Libyan Oil Revenues Should Not be Used to Support Terrorists and Armed Militias – Al Marsad

In an interview published today by Bloomberg, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), said that the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of Libya needs to ensure that oil revenues are not used to support terrorist and armed militias.

[Libya, 5 July 2019] – In an important interview with the leading financial and business news agency Bloomberg on the oil issue, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar clarified a number of important points that have been regularly distorted by opinion makers allied to the Government of National Accord (GNA). Haftar said the LNA, which now provides security for all the oil installations in Libya, with the exception of the Hamada and al-Bouri oil fields, pledged to “continue to protect oil facilities”.

Field Marshal Haftar reiterated, according to Bloomberg, that only the NOC based in Tripoli had the exclusive right to sell Libya’s crude oil. This statement is particularly important given the present, and largely unfounded, vilification that the LNA aimed to control the oil facilities to benefit from oil revenues by selling crude independently from the Tripoli-based NOC.

He said: “The army isn’t a trader. It doesn’t sell oil, legally or illegally.” He said further that the sale of crude was “governed by a number of laws and binding legislations.”

Given the accusations that have been levelled against the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), currently under the governorship of Siddik al-Kabir, and the Government of National Accord (GNA), Field Marshal Haftar was emphatic in his call to the NOC to ensure that the nation’s funds were not used to support UN and US-sanctioned terrorists and armed militias. He also told the NOC to stop interfering  with the LNA or working against it. 

Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of the Tripoli based NOC had alleged that the LNA advance towards Tripoli could have adverse effects on oil production and also accused the LNA of militarising the oil fields.

Libyan oil production has been volatile since the outbreak of the revolution of 2011 and reached similar low levels during the 2013-2014 periods which saw the consolidation of radical groups in the east such as Ansar Al-Sharia and the Islamic State, and Fajr Libya in the west and its invasion of Tripoli. The 2014 Islamist invasion of Tripoli led to the breakdown of governance and gave rise to the parallel government bodies.

Since the period the Libyan National Army (LNA) has provided security for most of the country’s oil installations and secured workers in the oil sector—oil output and oil revenue has made steady growth.

Libya's oil production has been among most volatile in the world

Libya’s Oil Production 2009-2019. © Bloomberg.

As Al Marsad reported in its news story yesterday, the Tripoli-based NOC announced May oil exports revenues of 2.3 billion USD from sales of crude oil and derived products, in addition to taxes and royalties received from concession contracts with a monthly increase of approximately 448 million USD (+24%). This was the highest so far since the low revenues of the 2013-14 period. From mid-2016 to the present, the improved stability in LNA-secured areas has translated into massive revenues for the country despite the fact that the ordinary Libyan citizen has still not seen any significant improvement in their standard of living.

In the interview with Bloomberg, Field Marshal Haftar said: “The biggest fear of some countries, specifically those concerned with the global economy, is the effect of military operations on the oil industry.” And added, “Reality has proven that those fears are unwarranted.”


Further Resources:

Massive Oil Revenues in May Contradict NOC Chairman’s Anti-LNA Smear Campaign