East Libya Ready to Stop Tankers If Rival Sells Using Glencore

  • Government in East Libya asks Glencore to confirm Tripoli deal
  • Libya producing oil at a fraction of Qaddafi-era output

The internationally recognized government in eastern Libya will try to stop any tanker operating for Glencore Plc from loading oil at the nation’s ports if the company does business with a rival political leadership in the west of the divided country, the head of the state-run National Oil Corp.’s eastern management said.

The NOC in Benghazi in eastern Libya sent a letter to Glencore seeking to confirm whether the commodity trader and miner has reached an agreement for oil sales with the competing NOC arm based in the western city of Tripoli, said Nagi Elmagrabi, chairman of the eastern NOC. Glencore hasn’t responded, he said Monday in a phone interview. 

Mohammad Elharari, a spokesman for the NOC’s western administration in Tripoli, confirmed by phone that it has made a deal with Glencore to help market oil. He declined to give further details. Glencore declined to comment.

Libya, with Africa’s largest oil reserves, pumped about 1.6 million barrels a day of crude before a 2011 rebellion ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule. Like the country’s leadership, the National Oil Company has competing eastern and western administrations seeking to control energy facilities. Political strife and worker protests have curtailed output to about a quarter of what it was when Qaddafi was in power, and the eastern government doesn’t recognize the Tripoli administration’s right to export oil.

The North African state’s production dropped below 400,000 barrels a day earlier this month after the eastern government closed the port of Zueitina. The arm of the NOC based in Tripoli, which is controlled by an Islamist-backed government, had been in charge at Zueitina.

Libya is the smallest producer in the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.

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