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Libya’s NOC chief rejects challenges to his appointment

LIBYA’S new National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief Farhat Bengdara rejected challenges to his appointment as most of the company’s major subsidiaries publicly acknowledged his leadership and work at some shuttered fields and ports resumed.

Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah of the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity (GNU) appointed Bengdara last week to replace veteran NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla, prompting Sanalla and the eastern-based parliament to reject the decision.

The parliament does not recognise the GNU and analysts say the standoff over control of government risks becoming a dispute over the NOC that could lead to splits in a company globally recognised as the sole legitimate producer of Libyan oil.

“I am aware that questions have been raised over the legal basis for my appointment. The Libyan government has the right to appoint the chairman and the board of NOC. I was formally appointed as chairman by the Government of National Unity,” Bengdara said in a statement.


“The GNU’s decision to appoint me as NOC chairman does not represent any change in the legal position of the NOC or in its relationship with the government,” he added.

Libya’s eastern-based parliament, which does not recognise the GNU, has said that Mustafa Sanalla remains the NOC’s legitimate chairman. Sanalla has said he will challenge Bengdara’s appointment in court.


Most of NOC’s major subsidiaries and affiliates have publicly recognised Bengdara’s leadership.

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Zallaf Libya Oil and Gas, Zueitina Oil, Jowfe Oil Technology Co., Akakus Oil Co. and Mellitah Oil and Gas Co. all put out statements on Tuesday welcoming or recognising the new NOC board.

Sirte Oil Co., Ras Lanuf Co. And Brega Co. also later put out statements recognising the new board.

The statements were either on verified social media pages for the companies or were confirmed to Reuters by company officials.

Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) issued a statement welcoming the new board last week.

Analysts say Bengdara is seen as close to eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, long an ally of the eastern-based parliament. They say Dbeibah’s appointment of Bengdara may represent an effort to court Haftar’s support for the GNU.

Last week Bengdara said NOC was lifting force majeure on oil exports after groups linked to Haftar agreed to end an oil blockade that had reduced total Libyan output by 850,000 barrels per day (bpd).

On Tuesday it said output was restarting at the El Feel field, reaching 40,000 bpd as production gradually ramps back up to the field’s usual 70,000 bpd.

It also said four tankers were due to dock in the ports of Zueitina, Es Seder and Ras Lanuf between Tuesday and Thursday to start loading crude.


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By The African Mirror