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TUNIS, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifted force majeure on what it deemed secure oil ports and facilities on Saturday, but said the measure would remain in place for facilities where fighters remain.
On Friday eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports but did not say if they would leave the facilities they control.
Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and allied forces including mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group hold some of Libya’s largest oil fields and export ports, and the NOC had already rejected any return to operations until they left the facilities, citing the safety of its staff.
“Force majeure continues in oil fields and ports where the presence of fighters from Wagner and other armed groups that obstruct the activities and operations of NOC is confirmed,” the oil company said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
Force majeure refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract, in this case the NOC, from meeting their obligations.
Libya and its institutions are divided between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Haftar’s LNA.
The eastern forces’ blockade of oil exports has cost $9 billion in lost revenue for Libya so far this year, the Tripoli-based central bank said this week.
Haftar’s statement lifting the blockade on Friday was made in coordination with the GNA’s deputy prime minister Ahmed Maiteeg, but it was unclear whether he had wider support in the western camp to agree on a deal to resume energy production.
Reporting By Angus McDowall Editing by Gareth Jones and Pravin Char
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