Libya has threatened to take to court any foreign firms trying to buy oil from eastern ports seized by armed protesters.
Oil Minister Dr. Abdulbari Alarusi [Al Arusi] told Reuters:
"Any firm... dealing with the armed groups which have closed the oil ports will be sued and banned from any future cooperation,"
"There won't be any market for them in Libya anymore. We are warning all global and small firms against dealing with the armed groups ... This oil belongs the Libyan people."
The Minister said the protesters had offered a firm using a Malta-flagged tanker trying to load crude in Es-Sider for around $90 a barrel, around $16 a barrel less than the official selling price set by the state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC).
He also dismissed announcements by the protesters that oil workers had resumed work at the seized Ras Lanuf, Es-Sider and Zueitina ports, which previously accounted for 600,000 bpd.
"They don't have the money, workers and engineers. All engineers and staff work for firms belonging to National Oil Corp which belongs to the Tripoli government ...
"The Libyan people are dying because of a lack of financing. We need financing to treat sick people, we need it to buy food abroad, overhaul school, hospitals and to build roads ...
"If there is no oil then the Libyan people will die."
(Tanker image via Shutterstock)