A Libyan rebel leader refused to hand over the control of three oil ports to the government and signaled that the OPEC member’s eastern region would from now on control its own crude reserves.
“We failed in making our conditions implemented, so we confirm that we won’t open the oil ports,” Ibrahim Al Jedran told a televised news conference from the eastern city of Ajdabiya today. “We now officially mandate the Executive Office of the Cyrenaica Region to start what it has been tasked with and preserve this wealth.”
The ports of Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina, which have a combined export capacity of 650,000 to 900,000 barrels a day when operating fully, were supposed to restart today, Brigadier Idris Bukhamada, head of the country’s Petroleum Facilities Guard, said Dec. 10. An agreement between Al Jedran’s forces and the government in Tripoli might clear the way for an increase in Libyan crude exports and push oil prices lower.
Crude output in Libya, which holds Africa’s largest proven oil reserves, fell to 210,000 barrels a day last month, the lowest level since the 2011 rebellion and NATO bombing campaign that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule. The country was producing an average of 1.55 million barrels a day in 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and had plans to increase production to 2 million barrels a day through increased exploration.
Al Jedran, a former regional PFG commander whose men blockaded five terminals starting July 28, said last week that a re-opening of the ports depended on three conditions. He demanded investigations into alleged illegal crude sales, the creation of an independent committee to monitor crude exports and additional development projects for eastern Libya, a region known as Cyrenaica.
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