Libya's NOC Says Will Take Legal Action on Unapproved Oil Sales

Brent Crude Touches 11-Year Low on Supply Glut Concerns
  • Oil sales without NOC in Tripoli permission in `breach of law'
  • Rival eastern and western factions in Libya tussle over oil

The National Oil Corp. based in Tripoli has the right to take legal action against any party that tries to export crude or products from Libya without its permission, according to a company statement.

“Any operations that are conducted outside the legal validity represented in the National Oil Corporation whose headquarters are located in Bashir Sadawai Street in Tripoli are considered an explicit breach of the law,” the NOC said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg questions. The company said it reserves “all rights to hold any party responsible for the entire legal liabilities and consequences arising thereof.”

Libya has two governments, one in the west and another in the east. While the eastern government has so far been recognized by the international community, the NOC with its headquarters in Tripoli is recognized by traders such as Glencore Plc and Vitol Group as the official marketer of Libyan oil. The eastern government has set up a separate NOC administration, led by Nagi Elmagrabi, which represents Libya in matters relating to oil including OPEC. Elmagrabi said on Dec. 18 that six companies including Netoil Inc. will sell crude from the country’s Mesla and Sarir oil fields.

The administration in eastern Libya has signed a contract with Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. under which it has agreed to sell 2 million barrels of crude oil a month to Egypt, NOC spokesman Mohamed al-Mnifi said by phone on Dec. 20. EGPC Chairman Mohamed Al-Masry confirmed in a phone call that his company has signed a memorandum of understanding, without giving more details.

Rival Libyan factions from the Tripoli-based General National Congress in the west and the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk signed a peace deal on Thursday after a year in which opposing groups, each with its own legislature and armed allies, tussled over oil and power. The strife has caused output from the country with Africa’s largest oil reserves to slump almost 80 percent since Moammar Al Qaddafi was toppled in 2011. Libya pumped 375,000 barrels a day in November, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

(Corrects in headline, first paragraph to show NOC has right to take legal action.)
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