The National Oil Corporation in Libya (NOC) is eager to reopen one of their main export hubs this week, marking the first movement from the OPEC member since oil terminals were placed under force majeure at the beginning of this year after the occupation of the Libyan National Army (LNA). As the blockade reaches into its seventh month and Libyan oil production plummeting from 1.2 million bpd to 100,000 bpd during this period, the LNA and NOC are currently negotiating the restart of oil production.
The United States has joined the United Nations and Libyan government’s investigation into the potential brokering of an unlawful sale of Libyan oil by General Khalifa Haftar. The rebel general reportedly traveled to Venezuela to discuss oil contracts to raise money for his Libyan National Army (LNA) through the sale of crude oil. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) is the only legal entity allowed to market Libyan crude as a result of sanctions given by the United Nations during the country’s civil war.
The country of Venezuela has battled through tumultuous times under United States sanctions, a poor refining network has caused gasoline shortages as well as political and social upheaval. Another country that has also been under similar scrutiny and sanctions from the United States for comparison is Iran. Over the past month, Iran has sent dozens of plane loads to Venezuela, consisting of equipment and chemicals necessary to produce gasoline as well as technicians to help jumpstart the dilapidated refineries of the South American country. In addition, five Iranian tankers are currently in route to Venezuela to help improve the growing shortage of gasoline that as of last month had consumers paying close to $8 per gallon.
On Monday, Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro appointed his economy vice president, Tareck El Aissami as his new oil minister. El Aissami’s appointment comes at a time where the country has been dealing with hyperinflation, declining oil production, shortages on basic goods and sanctions from the United States. As if things could not get any more precarious for the OPEC nation, El Aissami was recently added to the list of America’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives on charges of drug trafficking.
In the face of a global pandemic, millions of consumers are turning to alternative methods for receiving groceries and other products. As over 75% of Americans are under shelter-in-place orders, services such as Instacart, Amazon and Whole Foods have been essential resources as we adhere to social distancing. On Monday, workers at these companies expressed actions they are taking this week which include conducted walkouts, strikes and sickouts to demand hazard pay and other safety protections that are not currently afforded to them.