National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairman, Mustafa Sanalla has said any attempt to pay off the armed militia occupying the Sharara oil field would set a dangerous precedent that imperils Libya's recovery, and the funds would be better spent investing in communities and providing basic services to the most vulnerable.
In a letter to the chairman of the Presidency Council, Mr Fayez al-Serraj, on December 13, 2018, the NOC chairman said NOC would not restart production or lift force majeure on crude oil exports at Zawiya if ransom payments were made by the Ministry of Finance.
The NOC chairman also wrote to the Head of Investigations at the Public Prosecutor’s Office to prevent such payments, with copies sent to the State Audit Bureau, Ministry of Defence, and Administrative Control Authority.
According to the Sanalla:
“Rewarding this illegal action with direct payment will only create more problems and encourage further blockades. It would endanger the lives of oil sector workers, promote violence, and create more uncertainty. The militia occupying Sharara is breaking the law. They have threatened NOC staff with violence, and they are preventing us from producing and exporting the oil on which our country depends. Libya should learn the lessons of the criminal Jadhran who was paid ransoms and still cost Libya billions in lost revenue.”
“Paying off this militia will not solve the real problems of the South. That requires an action plan that deals with real local problems and systemic economic deprivation. But this support must be based on their needs, not as a reaction to threats or blackmail.”