Sunday, January 5, 2014

Libya updates January 5 , 2014 - oil blockades and political intrigue roll along.....

Oil Protests and blockades continue....

Oil pipeline blocked at Nalut by protesting guards

By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 4 January 2014:
Petroleum Facilities Guards based in Nalut have blocked an oil pipeline from the Wafa field to Mellitah, claiming that they have not been paid since last March and that all they have received from the government are their uniforms.
The gas pipeline from the Wafa field to the Mellitah gas processing plant was closed for some weeks by protesting Amazigh demanding a greater say in the drafting of the constitution. However the deputy head of Nalut local council Abdallah Solaiman told the Libya Herald that Amaazigh were not involved in this blockade.
“We are still negotiating with the protestors” he said, adding that the guards had themselves been negotiating with Tripoli for more than four months. “All they received were promises”.
One of the protestors , Osama Lalah, speaking to this newspaper, said that they had shut the oil pipeline because they had not received their salaries since they were posted to Nalut ten months ago. “We have not seen anything from the government except the uniforms we wear” claimed Lalah, who said he was from the PFG’s Fourth Support Brigade.  He said that there were 37 men in his unit and they were ready to reopen the line, just as soon as they were paid.
Solaiman said: “We demand the government explain its huge budgets if they are not able to pay staff salaries. We also demand that the protestors reopen the pipeline, in the public interest”.
The Amazigh blockade of the gas pipeline, which also runs through Nalut, crippled electricity production at the Ruwais power station, which was forced to shut down its four gas turbines and rely on diesel sets.   However Alhadi Bu-Sin has told the Libya Herald that Ruwais was now producing 600MW of electricity from its four gas turbines while two were still under maintenance.

Akakus announces resumption of exploration – Sharara field still not productive

By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 4 January 2014:
Akakus Oil Operations, the Libyan partner of Spanish oil giant Repsol, announced yesterday that it has resumed its exploration activity south of Obari, in southern Libya.
This follows announcements by both Total and BP of their intention to resume exploration activities in Libya.
On another note, Akakus said that production would not commence at its troubled Sharara filed until all protestors vacated its field.
Last week it had been announced that Defence Minister Al-Thinni had reached a settlement with protestors and that in a few days production would resume. However, from yesterday’s announcement by Akakus it is clear that some demonstrators are still physically present within the Sharara oil field, which Akakus considers as hindering operations.
The Sharara field, 60 kilometres west of Obari, has a capacity of 350,000 b/d and its oil is piped to the oil terminal at Zawia.

NOC continues Force Majeure at three eastern export terminals

By Ahmed Elumami.
Brega export terminal
Brega export terminal
Tripoli, 4 January 2014:
The National Oil Corporation has said that it is extending its declaration of force majeure at three eastern export terminals because of the activity of “armed groups”. It has also repeated its warning that no crude should be lifted from these ports without its authorisation.
NOC’s move over the terminals at Sidra, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina  comes as the ports continue to be blockaded by forces led by Cyreanican separatist leader Ibrahim Jadhran.
NOC warned its existing customers and all other traders that they should only to send vessels to load or discharge at these ports under Libyan state laws and regulations. It said that it is the only legally authorised body to sell oil, gas and derivatives.
“Any ship or oil tanker entering the Libyan territorial waters to buy or sell oil and gas with ports that have been mentioned, the Ministry of Defence will deal with them as a illegal target” NOC spokesman, Mohamed Al-Harrari, told the Libya Herald.
He added that any transactions or agreements signed with “another body” will be considered invalid and cancelled because they would not be legitimate. He stressed that companies attempting to be involved in such trade would  face “legal accountability”.
NOC originally declared force majeure last August at Brega as well as Sidra, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina . However this evening Harrari said that Brega was now operating normally. Brega has three crude oil berths with an aggregate  loading volume of 51,000 b/d.

Political intrigue.........

Zeidan confidence vote a “misunderstanding” say Congress members

By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 5 January 2014:
Despite reports that the General National Congress would hold a vote of confidence today in the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, it did not happen. Instead, Congress asked its various committees to discuss the matter.
The reports were a misunderstanding, members have told the Libya Herald.
“Despite what has been said [publicly], there was no expectation to vote [on the issue]“, independent  Rujban Congressman Abu Baker Abdulqader Al-Rujbani said. “It was only a discussion.”  In any event, he added, “we did not have enough time to discuss withdrawing confidence in Zeidan”.
Withdrawing confidence in Zeidan was not the most important issue at present, he added. What was needed were solutions to the country’s current problems, security being one of the most important.
Simply replacing Zeidan would not, by itself, solve anything, Al-Rujbani said.  Zeidan’s government had been formed the basis that it included different groups and political entities, he explained. The problem was that these groups were now bitter rivals and this was preventing the government from working. If there was no collaboration in Congress and no urgent measures taken to deal with the problems impeding the state, no other prime minister would be able to succeed in the job, either.
There were reported to be some 150 members at today’s session. Replacing Zeidan would have required 120 members voting to withdraw confidence in him.

The nine lives of Libya's prime minister Ali Zeidan: he was due to face a no confidence vote today in national congress but it was postponed

Foreign Ministry no longer blockaded

By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 5 January 2014:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is again working normally having been seized by protestors on 29 December. Calling themselves “The Honourable People of Libya” they had demanded the Congress to pass a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan.
“The ministry has started its regular work on Thursday afternoon following up urgently on issues that were delayed,” the spokesman of the ministry, Saad Al-Aswad, told the Libya Herald. “It must be noted that there was no damage or vandalism in the offices. None of the protesters entered them,” he added.
The protesters “just wanted to record their stance in the media” by reading a statement of their demands, he said.  They had stayed in the ministry for just four days and left voluntarily on Thursday afternoon.
Last spring, protestors demanding Congress pass the Political Isolation Law seized and held the Foreign Ministry for over a week.
Congress is due to debate a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister today.

Zeidan discusses access for energy companies and military procurement with Turkish PM

By Callum Paton.
Ali Zeidan with the Turkish Prime Minister in Ankara (Photo:Turkish Diplomatic Office)
Ali Zeidan with the Turkish Prime Minister in Ankara (Photo:Turkish Diplomatic Office)
Tripoli, 4 January 2013:
Ali Zeidan has pledged greater access for Turkish energy companies to Libya’s oil resources and announced further Turkish support for the military last night. He was speaking after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In remarks made at a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Ankara, Zeidan said that Libya would look to bolster cooperation with Turkey, increasing oil exports to the country and allowing greater opportunities to Turkish firms for hydrocarbon exploration.
The Libyan Prime Minister said that while a large number of foreign companies had returned to the country, more had to be done to bridge the gap left by those that have not. Zeidan explained that while the $4 billion of trade with Turkey was on the increase it could be much higher. He added that he had informed Erdogan of the creation of teams to study projects and old contracts with foreign companies put on hold.
The two prime ministers informed the conference that they had discussed regional politics particularly with regard to Egypt and Tunisia as well as greater collaboration between the banking sectors in their countries. Of the utmost importance, however, over the course of the Libyan delegation’s visit had been the subject of Turkish assistance to the country’s security forces.
Zeidan said that Turkey had decided to provide Libya with a gift of 20,000 uniforms and rifles with a number of helicopters, frigates and other vessels to be supplied to Libya once experts had decided on numbers.
Nearly 1,000 police and military personnel have already been trained in Turkey since the revolution and both men committed themselves to continuing the programme.
Zeidan stressed that he would “safeguard and encourage this relationship through all aspects of economic, commercial, industrial, military and security cooperation”.