Libyan Rebels Reject Talks With PM, Keep Oil Ports Shut

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Wednesday, May 07, 2014

 

Rebels occupying major oil ports in eastern Libya said on Wednesday they would boycott Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq and keep two major export terminals shut for now, a blow to efforts to restore vital oil exports.

The rebels even warned they would take action if Tripoli did not fulfil its part of a recent agreement to reopen the oil ports, a veiled threat to close the terminals again.

"Nothing has been implemented," said Abd-Rabbo al-Barassi, self-declared prime minister of the rebel movement.

He accused the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists in parliament of undermining the agreement and trying to take over the ports.

The struggle over energy wealth is part of growing turmoil in the North African country three years after the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Maiteeq's predecessor, Abdullah al-Thinni, reached an agreement with the rebels to reopen four of the ports, although only the smaller facilities, Hariga and Zueitina, have been handed over to government forces.

Both sides agreed to hold further talks over the larger Ras Lanuf and Es Sider exports terminals.

Barassi said the rebels would not deal with Maiteeq, claiming he had not come to power legally. The businessman was sworn in on Sunday after a chaotic election in parliament that was disputed by many deputies.

"Mr Abdullah al-Thinni needs to explain or appoint someone to say why there is this delay and why the agreement has not been implemented," Barassi told a rebel television station.

If the government did implement the deal, then the rebels might take unspecific "measures." Barassi did not elaborate, but rebel spokesman Ali al-Hasi said this would mean asking tribal elders whether the reopened ports should be closed again.

Barassi said more talks about "new conditions" were needed to reopen the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports. He did not say what these conditions would entail, but top leader Ibrahim Jathran said the group wanted a federal system sharing power and oil wealth between the regions, an impossible demand on the weak central government.

There was no immediate comment from Tripoli, which has struggled to assert authority over a country awash in arms and rival militias, some of which have seized oil ports and fields to make political and financial demands.

DEFICIT

Their actions have cut oil output to 250,000 barrels a day from 1.4 million bpd last summer, eroding public finances that are almost entirely dependent on crude exports.

Parliament has failed to approve a budget for this year.

Libya will post a budget deficit of 10 billion Libyan dinars ($8 billion) because oil revenues will reach only 34.7 billion dinars, said Mohammed Ali Abdullah, head of the parliamentary budget committee.

However, the deficit might be much higher because the draft, which comes to a vote on Sunday, assumes annual oil production of 800,000 bpd and an oil price of $100 a barrel, an unlikely goal if the Ras Lanuf or Es Sider ports remain shut.

Total expenditures will be 59 billion dinars, mainly for public salaries and subsidies, Abdullah said.

He did not say how the deficit would be funded. The central bank had foreign reserves worth $115 billion at the end of February. Oil exports are also the only source of funding for annual imports of $30 billion.

In another sign of turmoil, most air traffic at Benghazi airport came to a halt for hours after a fight among ground staff.

The two main local carriers, Libyan and Afriqiyah Airlines, suspended operations after a member of the ground staff tried to smuggle two Chadians without travel documents onto a flight, airport officials said.

The employee scuffled with a colleague who tried to stop him, a source at ground handling firm al-Shorooq said.

And in Tripoli, gunmen beat up the chairman of one of the biggest state cellphone operators to demand that the company open an office in their town, a company source said. Staff plan to strike on Thursday, he added.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Feras Bosalum and Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Heavens/Ruth Pitchford and Andre Grenon)

($1 = 1.2265 Libyan Dinars)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Offshore Casualty: Harkand Group Collapses

As the prolonged slump in energy prices continues to drag on a number of oil and gas and maritime players, word has it that Harkand Group has succumbed, according to staff reports and a report on www.

Louis Dreyfus, Amaggi Hire HSBC to Sell Terminal Stake

Agricultural commodity traders Louis Dreyfus Co B.V. and Amaggi Group have hired HSBC Holdings Plc to sell part or the entire 25 percent stake they hold in a terminal at the Brazilian port of Itaqui,

ITIC Reports on Ship Agents' Costly Transhipment Errors

International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) says it continues to deal on a regular basis with claims resulting from errors by agents involving transhipment cargoes.

News

Louis Dreyfus, Amaggi Hire HSBC to Sell Terminal Stake

Agricultural commodity traders Louis Dreyfus Co B.V. and Amaggi Group have hired HSBC Holdings Plc to sell part or the entire 25 percent stake they hold in a terminal at the Brazilian port of Itaqui,

GPA Will Continue Weighing Containers at No Cost to Shippers

The U.S. Coast Guard announced last week that state-calibrated scales already in use at the Port of Savannah meet a new requirement of the international Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

ITIC Reports on Ship Agents' Costly Transhipment Errors

International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) says it continues to deal on a regular basis with claims resulting from errors by agents involving transhipment cargoes.

Vessels

Vietnam Asks Japan for Vessels to Strengthen Coastguard

Vietnam has asked Japan to provide vessels to strengthen its coastguard, a Japanese official said on Thursday, in the latest sign of growing ties among the states locked in maritime rows with China.

Slower Demand for Larger Vessels Drags Baltic Index Lower

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, fell on Thursday due to diminishing demand for larger vessels.

Bollinger Wins Contract for Phase II FRC Builds

Louisiana shipbuilder Bollinger Shipyards announced it has secured a contract to build Phase II of the Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters (FRC) for the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1299 sec (8 req/sec)