The Libyan Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohammed Oun, said in an interview with Libyan News Agency that Libya "does not need a port outside the country to export its crude to European countries.” His remarks came in response to the news circulating about the export of Libyan oil based on an agreement between Egypt and South Korea.
Oun denied that he and his ministry were aware of any agreement between the Egyptian and South Korean sides. He added on Sunday that Libya "has seven oil ports on the Mediterranean to export crude oil, petroleum products, condensates, petrochemicals, and others, starting from Hariga in the east to Mellitah in the west, and therefore it does not need ports outside its borders."
Oun said that the agreement is permissible if the goal is to refine Libyan oil in Egypt, and in agreement with Libya, explaining that the statement issued in Egypt is clear as it talks about exporting Libyan crude oil to Europe, adding that Libya is closer than any other side to Europe and does not need to export oil to Europe through neighboring country.
Oun denied the existence of an agreement between Libya and South Korea to export oil, pointing to the possibility of the existence of a project dating back decades to attempt to build an oil pipeline from the port of Hariga to Alexandria to refine oil in Egypt, but this project did not go through. He said a similar project was discussed with Tunisia within the framework of strategies for achieving integration between African countries.
Oun indicated that his ministry is still suffering from many difficulties and facing challenges due to what he described as the lack of respect by the National Oil Corporation and its chairman, Farhat Bengdara, for the laws and legislation regulating the oil sector. He also said that the main dispute is related to the National Oil Corporation's failure to submit sufficient reports to the Oil Ministry about its activities, and failure to transfer any of the decisions or topics on which decisions are made.
Oun also denied any knowledge of reports related to the privatization of the Brega Oil and Gas Marketing Company, considering that this isn't correct, especially since it is proceeding in an orderly and smooth manner while facing some problems related to the smuggling of petroleum products outside the country. He said that the smuggling problem needs to be addressed by the regulatory authorities in the Libyan state, adding that the NOC and the Ministry of Oil do not bear any responsibility for any action after the trucks leave the Brega Company warehouses in all Libyan regions.
Oun explained that there are attempts to prevent smuggling, by forming committees to study the possibility of the success of the electronic tracking of oil trucks leaving the Brega Company warehouses.
The official website of the Egyptian Ministry of Transport revealed last Wednesday that the Egyptian government had signed a memorandum of understanding with its South Korean counterpart, represented by STX, to develop the Marsa Matrouh region, which includes developing the port of Garjoub, the industrial logistics zone, and building a pipeline to export Libyan oil to Europe via the port, which is 130 km from the Libyan border.