Libya’s state oil firm lifted force majeure on what it deemed secure oil ports and facilities on Saturday, a day after strongman Khalifa Haftar said he was lifting a blockade on oilfields and ports.
Pro-Haftar groups had blockaded key oilfields and export terminals from January 17 to demand what they called a fair share of hydrocarbon revenues.
The blockade, which has resulted in more than $9.8 billion in lost revenue according to the state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC), has exacerbated electricity and fuel shortages in the country.
“The National Oil Corporation announces the lifting of the state of force majeure over safe oil fields and ports,” a post on its Facebook page said.
But it said “force majeure continues on the oil fields and ports that confirmed the presence of elements of Wagner gangs and other armed groups that impede the activities and operations of the National Oil Corporation”.
Force majeure refers to external unforeseen elements that prevent a party from fulfilling a contract. The Wagner group alludes to a shadowy private security firm reportedly close to Moscow.
Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
The main military fault-line pits Haftar and an administration in Libya’s east against a UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli.
Haftar’s announcement on Friday about lifting the blockade comes after hundreds of Libyans protested last week in the eastern city of Benghazi, one of his strongholds, and other cities over corruption, power cuts and shortages in petrol and cash.