Wanna get up to speed?
"Fuel and gas processing at Libya’s Zawiya refinery were continuing normally on Monday despite a halt to loadings from El Sharara oilfield, two refinery employees said. Zawiya is connected to Sharara by a pipeline that was shut on Sunday by forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar as part of a wider blockade, Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said"
Two major oilfields in southwest Libya began shutting down on Sunday after forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar closed a pipeline, potentially cutting national output to a fraction of its normal level, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.It appears Haftar's move isn't as effective as we were led to believe?
The closure, which follows a blockade of major eastern oil ports, risked taking almost all the country’s oil output offline
However, the earlier rise in oil prices eased after some analysts and traders said supply disruptions in Libya will be short-lived and could be offset by other producers, limiting the impact on global markets.
- TASS: Participants in Berlin conference on Libya have agreed text of final document — source
|Pompeo behind Merkel|
BERLIN, January 19. /TASS/. Participants in the international conference on Libya in Berlin have agreed the text of the conference’s final document, several diplomatic sources told TASS on Sunday.
"The text has been agreed," a source said.
As follows from the draft available to TASS, the settlement process will be divided into six ‘baskets,’ namely ceasefire, arms embargo, political process, security sector reform, economic and financial reform, respect for international humanitarian law and human rights.
It also calls for noninterference into the armed conflict in that country and urges the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on countries violating the arms embargo.
When the statement is adopted, a special International Follow-Up committee will be established to oversee the implementation of the Berlin summit’s decisions.
A high-level international conference on Libya is underway on Sunday in the German capital city Berlin. Along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the conference is attended by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisis, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, Crown Prince Of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Al Nahyan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, President of the European Council Charles Michel. High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles, director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China Yang Jeichi, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. Leaders of Libya’s conflicting parties, Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj and Libyan National Army (LNA) Commander Khalifa Haftar also arrived in Berlin.
"Moscow’s cooperation with Ankara in seeking a Libya peace deal implies Russian acceptance of Turkey’s controversial (loaded word choice) East Med maritime border claims
Not controversial to Libya, Turkey or Russia, clearly.
Russia and Turkey, previous backers of opposing sides in the Libya conflict, have clearly decided that—if they could jointly achieve peace in the country—both would be assured of a lasting stake there. This would be a blow to the European powers most closely associated with Libya, Italy and France, which have persistently tried and failed to bring the fighting to an end.
Both countries have strong energy links with Libya which they would like to expand. Now there is a possibility that Russian and Turkish firms will put Libya’s oil and gas reserves in their sights. Russia has said in the past that it is interested in working jointly with Turkey on energy exploration and development.
For President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the link-up with Russia in pursuing peace in Libya has another huge dividend. Moscow’s involvement in the initiative is an unmistakable sign that President Vladimir Putin accepts Turkey’s maritime agreement with Libya. This creates two vast contiguous blocks of the Eastern Mediterranean, from the Turkish coast in the north to Libya in the south, with a joint maritime border between the two. The northern part, claimed by Turkey, encompasses some Greek island and parts of Cyprus’ economic exclusion zone (EEZ)
The Turkish move greatly complicates efforts to achieve harmony (more loaded language- achieve harmony? Was that the goal? For who?) between Eastern Mediterranean gas producers and potential producers. More to the point, it could potentially further complicate already ambitious-looking plans for a planned pipeline (costing $6bn, scheduled for completion in 2025) to export gas from the region to Europe.In early January, the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Israel committed themselves to the scheme. While all three states, along with Egypt, the European Union and the US have rejected the Turkey-Libya maritime agreement as being illegal, Erdogan will feel emboldened by having Russia at his side. Waving aside international criticism of the pact with Libya, he said “Greek Cypriots, Egypt, Greece and Israel cannot establish a natural gas transmission line without Turkey’s consent”.Some analysts believe that Erdogan’s East Med maritime border claims were designed specifically to try to block the pipeline plan. But the Turkish government has put forward other reasons to seek to justify the country’s right to reach the maritime deal with the Tripoli government and the agreement that allows Turkish troops to be based in Libya.
Burhanettin Duran, a columnist in a pro-Erdogan newspaper Daily Sabah, writes that “Libya is one of Turkey’s maritime neighbours, which means that instability, terrorism, mass migration and human trafficking in the country falls in direct relation to Turkey. Limiting the definition of national security to terrorists across our land borders alone is simply out of sync with the contemporary notion of national security.” He adds that the criticism directed at Ankara stems from the other states in the region “not wanting Turkey to strengthen its hand in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
Turkey's move greatly complicates efforts to achieve harmony between East Med gas producers
The international community (define international community? Is that just the US and friends? ) will not be persuaded by these arguments. Nor will it shift from its view that Turkey is acting in contravention of international maritime laws and agreements. But that does not mean that Turkey is about to budge.
Assuming the current Erdogan-Putin deal on Libya policy holds, the Turkish leader will feel no pressure to think again about his current dual objectives—to get a foothold in Libya and win Moscow’s support for the move. For as long as Cyprus remains divided and Turkey is excluded from the East Med energy club, Ankara will do whatever is necessary to stop Cypriots and others exporting gas by pipeline to Europe. Whether Erdogan needs to do so, when the high cost of producing gas in the East Med’s deep waters may make the pipeline a non-starter anyway in a currently depressed European and global gas price environment, is another story.
Does Haftar really have support from the Russian state?
I've long been torn on this idea. Since support of Haftar would generally contradict Russia's usual course of action:
- Supporting the legitimate internationally recognized government of a nation state.
- If Russia supported Haftar as has been claimed why not help him to continue on the fight?
Instead of working alongside Turkey and with the international community to enact a ceasefire
- Additionally claims of "russian mercenaries' fighting alongside Haftar's troops do not necessarily mean the Russian state supports Haftar. Since mercenaries are soldiers for hire.
"Haftar, whose forces are bearing down on the capital Tripoli with the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russian mercenaries and African troops, was expected to attend the one-day summit despite having abandoned talks last week.
Haftar quit a Turkish-Russian summit a week ago and escalated the conflict on Friday when eastern oil ports were shut down. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) said the shutdown was directly ordered by Haftar’s forces and would cut oil production by 800,000 barrels a day"