US Follows Power Struggle At Libya’s Oil Company With “Deep Concern”

The US embassy in Libya expressed concern over the struggle for control of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) after the Tripoli-based government named a new chairman to replace veteran technocrat Mustafa Sanalla, who refused to give up his post.

“We are following with deep concern developments surrounding the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which is vital to Libya’s stability and prosperity, and has remained politically independent and technically competent under the leadership of Mustafa Sanalla,” the US embassy in Libya said in a tweet.

Libya’s Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and his government of national unity based in Tripoli, said they have replaced NOC chief Sanalla with former Central Bank governor Farhat Bengdara. However, the move has earned harsh opposition from rival factions, and Sanalla also said he would not give up his post.

Moreover, the Energy Committee of Libya’s eastern-based parliament on Thursday strongly rejected the move to sack Sanalla.

“The reported replacement of the NOC board may be contested in court but must not become the subject of armed confrontation,” US ambassador in Libya Richard Boyce Norland said.

Norland said that the key public policy considerations for Libya in this regard appear to be oil and gas production actually being restored in order to address urgent issues affecting the lives of every Libyan, especially electricity shortages.

Norland said that the uncertainty once again demonstrates the urgent need for the political will to “compromise and set the immediate stage for reconciliation and elections.”

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