October 9, 2019 / 9:38 PM / 8 days ago

Libyan state oil firm pays salaries for eastern unit with parallel board

CAIRO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Libyan state oil firm NOC said on Wednesday it had been able to pay the salaries in September of staff at a fuel distribution unit after a dispute with a parallel board established by eastern authorities.

The case is watched by oil markets for signs whether NOC might break up after eastern authorities allied to Khalifa Haftar, whose troops have been trying to seize Tripoli, set up a board for NOC’s Brega unit, which is in charge of fuel supplies, in areas of their control.

Tripoli is home to the internationally recognized government.

“Brega Petroleum Marketing Company ... confirms that it has referred the salary instruments of workers in the central and eastern regions to the banks in the affected areas, overcoming attempts by an illegitimate parallel board to obstruct payments,” NOC said in a statement.

“This unfortunate episode demonstrates that the so-called parallel board is incapable of managing the most basic functions of the company,” NOC said. “We urge the so-called parallel board members to step aside so order can be restored.”

Last month, the eastern parallel administration said it created a new Brega board because Tripoli was not sending sufficient fuel supplies, especially jet fuel, to areas under its control, a charge denied by NOC.

Libya’s oil and gas revenues is routed via NOC Tripoli but last year Haftar’s forces briefly tried taking over oil export ports under their control.

The eastern parallel government has since worked with NOC Tripoli but some Libyan oil sources and diplomats have said they have had indications the east was trying to set up a firm to sell oil. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing Editing by Grant McCool)

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