x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Rebels say Qatar ready to market east Libyan oil

On The Wires: Libyan rebels have claimed that Qatar has agreed to help them market their crude oil to the world.

BENGHAZI, LIBYA // A senior Libyan rebel official said on Sunday that Qatar had agreed to market crude oil produced from east Libyan fields which are no longer in the control of Muammar Gaddafi.

"We contacted the oil company of Qatar and thankfully they agreed to take all the oil that we wish to export and market this oil for us," said Ali Tarhouni, a rebel official in charge of economic, financial and oil matters, in the rebel-held eastern city of Benghazi.

"Our next shipment will be in less than a week."

State-owned Qatar Petroleum said it had no comment on the report.

Mr Tarhouni, speaking to reporters, also said output from east Libya oil fields that rebels controlled was running at about 100,000 to 130,000 barrels per day (bpd), and that it could be increased to 300,000 bpd.

The comments from Mr Tarhouni, designated last week by the Benghazi-based national council to steer its financial and oil policy, could not immediately be confirmed from Qatar.

Qatar became the first Arab nation to begin patrolling a U.N. backed no-fly zone and has urged the Libyan leader to quit to avoid more bloodshed.

Mr Tarhouni said the rebel leadership had set up an escrow account monitored by auditors that would be used to receive revenues from oil sales.

The rebels also plan to take out loans backed by Libya's sovereign wealth fund, he said.

"We would keep the fund frozen until the entire country is liberated," said Mr Tarhouni. "Instead, what we will do is take loans backed by the sovereign fund."

He said he saw no serious liquidity problems for the rebels, who were well placed in terms of foreign currency reserves.