In my last few columns I have been attempting to present the latest developments in Libya, especially in terms of energy and economy. The inconsistencies between reports from the field and foreign media outlets prove that the details of the hot-button topic need to more meticulously discussed.
In my column published Thursday I articulated that Khalifa Haftar may concoct a plan to carve up Libya to legitimize the illegal sale of oil. Just hours after I submitted my op-ed, British publication The Guardian published a report on the division of Libya. According to the article, it seems that the U.S. has implemented steps that will lead to the permanent division of the country. It has been discerned that Washington plans to split oil revenues into three by teaming up with France and Egypt, as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
I had stated that Libyan oil exports could only be conducted by legal deals struck with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and that profits from oil should be sent to the Central Bank in Tripoli.
However, reports from the field tell a completely different story. All parties, primarily France’s Macron, that buy oil from Sirte, which is currently under the control of warlord Haftar who doesn’t pay the Libyan Central Bank, are actually committing crimes according to international law. In other words, they are partners in crime to Haftar’s oil laundering scheme.
When taking into account Libya’s hydrocarbon reserves compared to other countries, the revenue from oil and natural gas proves extremely important in terms of Libya’s future.
Alas, the people of Libya are currently deprived from these revenues. Furthermore, as these profits are not being allocated for the welfare of the Libyans, Haftar sells the oil to EU countries through illegal means, which comes back as weapons, ammo, as well as conflict, blood and death.
Libyan National Oil Corporation President Mustafa Sanalla pointed out the detriment of Libyans being deprived of their oil revenues and stated that the road to rebuilding the infrastructure of the country, which has been devastated by the civil war, goes through lifting the embargo and the Russians ending their occupation of oil reserves.
THE MERCENARY MATTER
We know that there is a myriad of many countries’ soldiers on the ground. Additionally, there is also the presence of mercenaries deployed by private military companies. To be blunt, these private military companies pose the greatest threat to the region. Hard to control and communicate with, the end-goals of these groups are determined by their affiliated intelligence organizations.
Furthermore, we need to consider that behind these private military firms, there could be global energy firms endorsing and financing them in relation to how the petrol and natural gas reserves will be utilized, by whom they will be commercialized and which companies will undertake the drilling activities in open waters.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN LIBYAN OIL BECOMES A KNIGHT ON THE CHESSBOARD?
Nowadays, Libya is producing oil well below its production capacity. The same goes for natural gas. Moreover, if potential oil and natural gas reserves in the open seas come into play, an actor that has been bottle-necked since 2011 will return to the energy markets. Without a doubt, this situation has many countries, primarily Egypt and Russia, shaking in their boots. Let’s not forget that when Turkey, which used to import 20% of its oil from Libya, was no longer able to do that, it was forced to turn its sights to Russia and Kazakhstan.