Libya's NOC welcomes oil restart proposal, calls for military withdrawal

FILE PHOTO: The building housing Libya's oil ministry and state energy firm, the National Oil Corporation (NOC), is seen in Tripoli June 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

CAIRO (Reuters) - Libya’s National Oil Corporation welcomed on Friday proposals from both sides in the country’s conflict to lift a seven-month oil blockade and place revenues in a special bank account until a political deal is reached.

“NOC reiterates its call for all oil facilities to be freed from military occupation to ensure the security and safety of its workers,” the state oil producer said in a statement.

“Once this has been done, NOC should be able to lift force majeure and re-commence oil export operations.”

Tripoli-based NOC also said it was “making all possible efforts to provide a ship to empty condensate tanks” in eastern Libya, after authorities there said they would allow the shipment of oil and gas products to ease a power supply crisis.

The NOC statement followed calls by the head of Libya’s internationally recognised government in Tripoli and the head of a rival parliament in the east for a ceasefire and an end to the blockade.

Factions based in east and west Libya, both backed by foreign allies, have been vying for power for years, with the distribution of oil revenue a key source of tension.

The blockade was imposed by the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and its allies in January, reducing Libya’s oil production from around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to less than 100,000 bpd. The NOC estimates losses at more than $8 billion.

The LNA and allied oil guards said earlier this week that shipments from blockaded ports would be limited to those needed to offload stored products and allow for the production of gas used at power stations.

Reporting by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan