Newly appointed chairman of the Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC), Farhat Bengdara, has hinted that a force majeure could be lifted on Libya’s oil exports within a week.

He told Bloomberg in an interview at the weekend that he would double Libya’s crude oil production to 1.2 million bpd. Bengdara also assured that all contracts with foreign partners would be honored.

However, while querying the legitimacy of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, the embattled former chairman of NOC, Mustafa Sanalla, has refused to step down in the face of a takeover decree from the GNU.

Although the government of Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was backed by the United Nations, it is said to have elapsed last December when elections were supposed to hold in Libya.

In an address to the public on Thursday, a defiant Sanalla, who has run the politically independent NOC for eight years, refused to accept the takeover, calling Dbeibah’s government “illegitimate” as his mandate technically expired when he failed to hold elections in December 2021.

In a telephone interview with Reuters later on Thursday, Sanalla said he was in Tripoli attempting to defuse the situation and calling for international pressure to avoid what would inevitably lead to the creation of two parallel NOCs in a country already suffering a dangerous deadlock with parallel governments vying for control of the nation’s oil resources.

Last Friday, Dbeibah filed a complaint with the attorney general against Sanalla, saying that he “deliberately appeared in the media and made blatant and irresponsible statements against the prime minister and some other officials, refusing to implement the cabinet’s decision and hampered the work of the hand-over committee.”

On his own part, Sanalla has also filed a complaint demanding the takeover decree be revoked and accusing the Dbeibah government of acting to appease the United Arab Emirate.

Up to last night, neither the Libyan nor the NOC’s website and social media accounts have published any updates from Sanalla presenting further resistance, further querying the GNU legitimacy.

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