The reopening of the two major oilfields in Libya that were closed by tribal leaders in January in defiance of the UN-backed government, has been welcomed by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
In an official statement, the UNSMIL said that it “welcomes the opening of the Sharara and El Feel oil fields this weekend. The oil blockade has needlessly cost the Libyan people over $5 billion due to lost oil sales as well as millions of dollars of indirect losses due to the shutdown of domestic refineries and damage caused by the oil infrastructure remaining idle”.
The UNSMIL statement added, “The blockade should be fully lifted across the country. Oil and other natural resources should not, in any way, shape or form, be instrumentalized as part of the conflict.”
The UNSMIL appealed to all Libyan parties to avoid damaging oil infrastructure or impeding staff of the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) from conducting their official duties. It added that the NOC is Libya’s sole and legitimate oil company and is essential for the development of the nation.
“Libya’s natural resources belong to all Libyans and their exploitation is vital to maintaining the country’s economy, particularly given the need to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” the UNSMIL added.