SITUATION UPDATE BRIEF: LIBYA – RECOVERY IN OIL EXPORTS COULD BE REVERSED BY FRAGMENTING ADMINISTRATIONS

Key Takeaways

Oil exports have begun to recover in the last two weeks following an end to a blockade imposed by Khalifa Haftar’s forces earlier this year. However, this progress could easily be reversed. Haftar’s deal with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq, which ended the blockade, faces resistance from multiple sources.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord is beginning to fragment and could undermine the agreement between Haftar and Maiteeq. Most concerning is the intention of Prime Minister Fayez alSarraj to resign next month. This could usher in a period of rising tensions as various politicians and their supporters among local militias compete for influence in any new government.

Meanwhile, in central Libya, the city of Sirte remains another flashpoint. Haftar wants to retain territorial control of the area given its status as a strategic centre for the oil industry, while control of the latter’s facilities and revenues will form a key stumbling block in any peace talks. In this climate, renewed disruption to energy exports remains likely.

Overview

Limited oil operations in Libya have resumed since 18 September following a controversial agreement between Khalifa Haftar, whose affiliated armed groups control much of eastern Libya, and Ahmed Maiteeq, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The deal has been contested by Maiteeq’s superior, Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, as well as other factions in western Libya.

Nevertheless, Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) has partially lifted its force majeure, which was imposed eight months ago following the blockade of the country’s ports by forces allied to Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). Hariga, Brega and Zueitina are now classified as safe ports, while the NOC is continuing to evaluate the status of other terminals. However, it has also stated that it will not reopen facilities where foreign mercenaries such as the Russian Wagner group are present. A week after the partial lifting of the blockade, Libya’s oil output has already tripled, albeit from a very low base. However, the control of oil facilities remains a key bargaining tool between rival Libyan factions during negotiations and so supplies will face the sustained threat of further disruption.

Internal divisions within the rival administrations weaken prospect of a lasting peace agreement

The recent agreement between Haftar and Maiteeq underscores the growing discord within the GNA…

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