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Updated Jul 13, 2020
Ra’s Lanuf Oil Refinery in northern Libya. (AFP)
Ra’s Lanuf Oil Refinery in northern Libya. (AFP)

Hopes of the Libyan economy clawing its way back from the brink of collapse were dashed this past weekend when Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA), said the LNA would maintain a blockade of Libyan ports and oil fields. This reimposition of the embargo against oil exports after it was briefly lifted is to force discussion about a fair distribution of oil revenue. The LNA is also demanding an audit of the central bank in Tripoli, the seat of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Libya’s economy is heavily dependent on oil, which, in 2018, accounted for US$24.2 billion, or just under 87 percent, of all exports. When Haftar first instituted the blockade in January 2020, production dropped from 1.2 million to about 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

Libyans carry placards as they gather in front of the National Oil Corporation to protest against a blockade launched by groups allied to military strongman Khalifa Haftar last month of eastern Libya's main oil terminals, In the Libyan capital Tripoli on February 12, 2020. Libya has lost almost one billion dollars in revenues since the blockade of its most vital oil export facilities led to a slump in production. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP)
Libyans protest against an oil blockade imposed by groups allied to Khalifa Haftar in front of the National Oil Corporation headquarters in Tripoli on February 12. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP)

The state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC), based in Tripoli, claimed on July 5 that Russian private military contractors of the Wagner Group had occupied Sharara oil field, a claim Russia denies. The NOC has also accused the United Arab Emirates, which supports Haftar, of instructing the LNA to reimpose the blockade, a charge that neither the LNA nor UAE has responded to yet.

 

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