Libya's State Oil Firm Operating Independently Of Rival Governments

Reuters

TRIPOLI, March 19 (Reuters) - Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) is working independently without taking orders from either of the country's rival governments, the Tripoli-based group said on Thursday.

The internationally-recognised government said on Tuesday it wanted to route oil exports through an eastern NOC entity under its leadership rather than via Tripoli, which has traditionally handled oil exports.

"The NOC board of directors confirms that NOC's position is neutral and (that it) receives no directives from either the Tripoli- or Bayda-based governments," it said. Bayda is the seat of the recognised government in the east.

"(It) operates in complete independence from both sets of authorities," NOC said. "All revenue proceeds are directly deposited into a Central Bank of Libya designated account."

The two governments and parliaments are allied to armed factions fighting for territory and control of oil facilities.

The eastern-based government has appointed a new head for NOC, while the Tripoli-based rival government has kept the previous NOC head in office, while appointing its own oil minister.

"The NOC must remain an independent institution that operates outside political disputes in order to remain an equal resource for all Libyans," NOC Tripoli said. "NOC shall continue to work from its legally registered headquarters in Tripoli."

The two sides have appointed separate heads for the central bank which has also tried to stay out of the conflict. The bank books oil revenues on accounts abroad used by oil buyers for many years.

(Reporting by Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Jane Merriman/Ruth Pitchford)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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