Germany’s foreign minister called for an end to the blockade imposed by the rebel forces headed by warlord Khalifa Haftar on major oil fields in southwestern Libya, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said in a statement on Tuesday.
In the meeting between Heiko Maas and NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla at NOC headquarters in Tripoli on Monday, Maas expressed his country’s support for the efforts of NOC to resume oil production in Libya, an oil exporter to Germany, where it is besieged by illegal oil blockades.
Maas stressed the importance of preserving the unity of Libya and public safety was noted as a concern due to the economic and environmental damage from the blockade particularly due to the militarization of facilities and the presence of foreign mercenaries inside them.
Maas and Sanalla discussed the importance of financial transparency in line with the restoration of security and the need to clear oil facilities from mercenaries and the military presence, making them demilitarized buffer zones.
The NOC explained that these steps would ensure oil is not used as a political bargaining chip by helping contain military conflict and allowing NOC employees to conduct their work without jeopardizing their lives.
Libya has the largest proven crude oil reserves in Africa at 48.4 billion barrels. Natural gas and oil income represent approximately 90% of the government’s revenue.
Libya's internationally-recognized government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. Since 2014, Haftar's militias have been targeting oil fields, which represent the lungs of the Libyan economy.
Libya exports oil mainly to Italy, France, Spain and Germany. However, the Libyan economy has experienced a significant decline because of political unrest and a corresponding decline in production in oil fields under the control of Haftar forces.
By Sibel Morrow