Libyan Military Strongman Khalifa Haftar Threatens Military Action Over Oil Revenue Distribution

Libyan Military Strongman Khalifa Haftar Threatens Military Action Over Oil Revenue Distribution

…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.

Khalifa Haftar Threatens Military Action Over Unfair Division of Oil Revenues

Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who supports the eastern administration of the politically divided country, has issued a warning of potential military action if oil revenues are not fairly distributed by the end of August 2023.

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Libya possesses the largest oil reserves in Africa, but the ongoing divide between the eastern government and the United Nations-recognized administration in Tripoli has hindered efforts to significantly increase oil output to meet the rising European demand for non-Russian oil and gas.

Calls for a Committee and Fair Management of Funds

In late June, Oussama Hamad, the head of the eastern administration, threatened to block oil and gas exports from the territories under its control, accusing the Tripoli administration of squandering energy revenues.

Haftar, addressing his officers, emphasized the need to establish a committee responsible for implementing financial arrangements and ensuring the equitable management of public funds and oil revenues.

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Speaking from Rajma near Benghazi, Haftar declared that the committee must complete its mission by the end of August, failing which the armed forces would be prepared to act.

However, no further details were provided regarding the nature of potential military action.

Crucial Importance of Crude Oil for Libya

Crude oil serves as the primary source of revenue for Libya, a country that has experienced over a decade of intermittent conflicts involving foreign powers and various militias since the overthrow of former leader Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 with the support of NATO.

The National Oil Corporation and central bank, both located in Tripoli, manage oil revenues in the country.

Past Disruptions and Future Goals

In the past, pro-Haftar forces have blockaded Libyan oil fields, including a period between April and mid-July of the previous year.

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Groups aligned with the eastern camp have disrupted operations at six oil fields and export terminals, demanding a more equitable distribution of hydrocarbon revenues.

As a result, oil production dropped to approximately 400,000 barrels of crude per day.

Farhat Bengdara, the chairman of the National Oil Corporation, stated last year that Libya aims to increase its oil output from around 1.2 million barrels per day to 2.0 million bpd by 2027.

The Implications of Haftar’s Ultimatum

Haftar’s ultimatum raises concerns about the potential escalation of hostilities and its impact on Libya’s oil industry.

The division between the eastern and western factions in Libya has significantly impeded the country’s ability to fully exploit its vast oil reserves and meet international demand.

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The outcome of the committee’s establishment and its success in ensuring fair management of public funds and oil revenues will play a crucial role in determining the country’s economic stability and prospects for growth.

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