UK: We Must Respect Libyan NOC’s Independence

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On Thursday, the British Embassy in Libya stressed that the independence and integrity of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) must be protected and respected.

“The UK shares the views and concerns of our US colleagues. The independence and integrity of the NOC must be protected and respected,” the Embassy tweeted.

Earlier today, the US Ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland expressed his deep concern over the developments surrounding the NOC, after the dismissal of its Chairman Mustafa Sanalla.

He said that “the NOC is vital to Libya’s stability and prosperity, and has remained politically independent and technically competent under the leadership of Sanalla.”

Norland confirmed that the reported replacement of the NOC Board of Directors “may be contested in court but must not become the subject of armed confrontation.”

“The key public policy considerations for Libya in this regard appear to be oil and gas production (which) is actually being restored, in order to address urgent issues affecting the lives of every Libyan, especially electricity shortages,” Norland tweeted.

He urged Libyan leaders to “recognize that once again these developments demonstrate the urgent need for the political will to compromise and set the immediate stage for reconciliation and elections.”

On Tuesday, the Government of National Unity (GNU), headed by Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba issued a decision replacing Sanalla with Farhat Bengdara. This has raised concerns the state oil producer is being pulled into Libya’s political standoff.

Dbaiba also set up a committee to manage the transition to the new Board of Directors, according to a statement published on the Oil Ministry website.

Sanalla has rejected his dismissal, and lifted the force majeure on the Zueitina and Brega ports. As well as begin shipments of condensate from them.

Analysts say the appointment of Bengdara, a former Central Bank Governor before 2011 to run the NOC may herald an attempt by Dbaiba to shore up his position in Tripoli.