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Icon representing Maritime Information Warfare Conference 2019 -London -November 18-19
Maritime Information Warfare Conference 2019 -London -November 18-19

November 18th 2019
Icon representing CYPnaval Conference - October 2nd - Cyprus
CYPnaval Conference - October 2nd - Cyprus

October 2nd 2019
Icon representing CSOA First Response Report: Iran Seizes British Tanker
CSOA First Response Report: Iran Seizes British Tanker

July 20th 2019

New Threat from Libya

August 5th 2016
While ISIS is gradually being pushed out of Sirte and talks continue to re-open Libya’s key oil terminals, a new threat to shipping has emerged.

Media in the region report that Libya's chief of staff has threatened to bomb foreign oil tankers if they entered territorial waters, after a controversial deal struck between the United Nations envoy and a militia commander in control of the oil terminals.

Brig. Gen. Abdel-Razek al-Nadhouri has warned foreign companies against signing oil deals with any party except for the state-run National Oil Corporation branch in Benghazi.

Libya’s National Oil Corporation has been split between its eastern and western branches for some time, although tensions were thought to have eased recently following the signing of an agreement with the Petroleum Facility Guards who have fought hard to ensure terminals have been kept out of ISIS hands. The Benghazi branch falls under the authority of the internationally-recognised parliament seated in Tobruk. The Western branch falls under the UN brokered government based in Tripoli. Confusion abounds.

However, the new threat will remind many of last year’s attacks against shipping, where a number of ships were attacked in Libyan waters with some loss of life.

At the same time, Libyan officials from the UN-backed government are holding talks with the PFG brigade which controls Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports in an attempt to reopen the ports. Opening Ras Lanuf would allow an additional 600,000 barrels per day to be exported, although the facilities may take some time to come back online, as they haven’t been operational since December 2014 and have seen heavy fighting.

The prospect of new oil exports combined with the clear threat to shipping illustrates how volatile Libya remains. CSO Alliance will be watching developments on behalf of members operating in the area.