NOC Chairman Explains Unity Agreement

Interview with Tripoli-based Mustafa Sanalla, Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), regarding the Unity Agreement reached between the rival NOCs:

What brought this agreement about?

The impetus came from the chairman of the Presidency Council, Mr Serraj, who indicated to Dr el-Maghrabi and I in a meeting in March that this was what he wanted, and I understand the President of the House of Representatives gave Dr el-Maghrabi similar instructions. Dr el-Maghrabi and I met several times to discuss this subject. We signed an MOU in Vienna just before the last Opec meeting.

What will happen to the agreements signed for export of oil by NOC East?

We will consider all contracts signed and judge them on their merits. The main criteria will be whether the counterparties meet our standards and whether the contracts benefit Libya.

Were any other types of agreement signed, ie for exploration and production?

I do not believe so.

Is a deal to share revenue with the eastern government part of his agreement?

One of the fundamental principles of this agreement is that Libya’s oil must be used for the benefit of all Libyans. It actually uses those words. Funds from the sale of oil by NOC will continue to go to the Central Bank, as before. The Presidency Council controls expenditure by the Central Bank, including money distributed to state institutions, and it is up to the Central Bank and the Council to ensure that the money is distributed fairly. Deciding on a precise split of revenue is beyond the scope of the agreement and the competence of either Dr el-Maghrabi or I to negotiate.

There have been reports that quote Dr el-Maghrabi as saying revenue will be evenly divided between the rival central banks in the east and the west. Is this correct?

Dr el-Magrabi was speaking by phone and it must have been a bad connection because this is not correct and there are a few other things which are neither correct nor possible in the story to which you are referring. As I have said, Libya’s oil must be used for the benefit of all Libyans, but deciding on the split of revenue is not something Dr el-Maghrabi or I have the authority to discuss. NOC’s sole concerns are the optimal management, production and sale of Libya’s hydrocarbon resources, not deciding who gets what from the national budget.

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