Libyan Oil Minister Asks Government to Replace NOC Chair Sanalla
(Bloomberg) -- Libya’s Oil Minister Mohamed Oun has asked the government to replace the board of the state energy firm, including long-standing Chairman Mustafa Sanalla, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg.
Oun said a change was needed as soon as possible because the current board of National Oil Corp. was formed in a way that was incompatible with the OPEC member’s laws. Taher al-Qahtani should replace Sanalla, Oun said in the letter.
Libya holds Africa’s largest crude reserves but civil war and conflict since the downfall of dictator Moammar Qaddafi a decade ago have led to several shutdowns and caused foreign oil companies to cut investments. A truce around the middle of last year and the formation of the unity government have helped stabilize output in recent months.
Sanalla has been chairman for seven years and effectively ran the energy sector -- including representing Libya at meetings of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries -- until Oun was appointed in March as the country’s first oil minister since 2014. The NOC has been one of the few institutions able to work across Libya’s political divides.
Oun said in an interview this month that Libya will struggle to sustain its levels of oil production unless lawmakers overcome their disputes and pass a budget. The country is pumping roughly 1.3 million barrels of crude per day, and aims to increase that to 1.5 million by the end of 2021, Oun said.
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