Libyan oil smugglers are driving instability in the OPEC nation, according to the US Treasury Department. Reuters photo by Aidan Lewis.
Libyan oil smuggling sanctions imposed against six people, 24 companies, seven vessels
The United States has issued more sanctions targeting Libyan oil smugglers. The US Treasury Department says the move is aimed at blocking exploitation of natural resources that is driving instability in the African nation.
According to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the US is sanctioning six people, 24 companies and seven vessels . These sanctions prohibit Americans from engaging with the targets and freezes any related property under US jurisdictions.
Targets include some individuals from Libya, Malta and Egypt, according to the OFAC. The sanctions are issued under an executive order issued in 2016 by former US President Barack Obama and are also aimed at some companies based in Italy, Libya and Malta.
According to Reuters, the United Nations Security Council has already condemned the illicit exploitation of Libyan oil. Since 2011 and the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the oil industry in Libya has been in conflict.
“Oil smuggling undermines Libya’s sovereignty, fuels the black market and contributes to further instability in the region while robbing the population of resources that are rightly theirs,” OFAC’s statement said.
In recent months, Libyan oil production has steadied, but sits well below it 1.6 million barrels per day it produced before the civil war began in 2011. The industry is now suffering from theft, abduction and security threats.
Last week, production at the El Feel operation was halted when armed security guards shut down the plant over pay. The National Oil Corporation declared a force majeure over the weekend due to the shutdown.