Continental Focus, International Reach

Sanalla Warns of Threat from Fighting

Monday, April 15, 2019

Mustafa Sanalla, head of Libyan state-run oil and gas firm NOC, issued a warning on the effect the ongoing fighting will have on the oil and gas industry. Sanalla said that the sector faces the gravest threat since the civil war due to the fighting between LNA troops and government troops.

The NOC chief called on the international community to help stop the conflict, which has flared up since General Khalifa Haftar and his LNA troops advanced on Tripoli.

“I am afraid the situation could be much worse than 2011 because of the size of forces now involved,” Sanalla told the Financial Times by telephone.

“Unless the problem is solved very quickly, I am afraid this will affect our operations, and soon we will not be able to produce oil or gas.” He added that the loss of Libyan supplies would force the global oil price to rise.

The fighting has damaged one of NOC’s subsidiaries, the North African Geophysical Exploration Company (NAGEO). The company’s board, in a statement on the NOC website, condemned the bombardment of NAGEO headquarters and surrounding compound on April 10. NAGEO’s headquarters is located in Tripoli’s Qasr Bin Ghashir.

An aerial raid resulted in the collapse of one of the main walls of the headquarters as well as the burning down of six residential units for international staff. The local fire brigade could not access the site. Members of NOC’s industrial security and safety unit extinguished the fire before it spread to nearby offices and stores, as well as vehicles in close proximity.

The board noted with relief that there were no casualties. NOC and subsidiary staff had been asked to stay at home due to hostilities in the greater Tripoli area, with operations conducted by only essential staff.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Sanalla said: “NOC condemns the targeting of national energy infrastructure in the latest round of hostilities. NOC facilities and Libyan oil workers must be kept away from any political and military disputes, to allow us to effectively fulfil our mandate to maintain oil production and exports for the benefit of all Libyans.”