Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) hopes oil production will resume after international talks to end a blockade by eastern-based forces in the civil war, which has stopped almost all energy exports for six months, it said on Monday.
The eastern-based forces shut down Libya’s oil production in January, putting financial pressure on the Government of national Accord
in Tripoli, in the west, but also cutting off revenue for state institutions operating across the country.
A possible deal to allow production to restart would involve a new agreement on distributing oil revenue, as well as guarantees on field security, a person familiar with the matter said.
Ending the blockade could also make it easier to agree to a ceasefire, with Libya’s warring sides and their foreign backers continuing to mobilize forces around the coastal city of Sirte.
Libya has been split since 2014 between rival factions in Tripoli, home to the GNA, and in the east, where Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) holds sway.
Though an eastern government aligned with Haftar has set up parallel institutions, international agreements say only the NOC in Tripoli can produce and export oil, with revenue channeled through the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) in the capital.
The LNA still controls the east and south, including most major oil fields and export terminals.
After the GNA’s gains this month, NOC attempted to reopen Sharara and El Feel oil fields, before armed groups stopped it. Last week it said Russian mercenaries had occupied Sharara.
An LNA spokesman said on television that it welcomed any popular mandate to protect the oilfields.
The NOC spokesman said the company would start producing oil again right away if workers’ security was guaranteed.