London: The United States has named 14 companies owned by Libya’s state oil firm as subject to sanctions including prominent east Libyan operator Agoco, aiming to cut off a key source of funds for Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
The list of 14 firms owned by Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) was identified by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, and given in a Treasury statement on Tuesday.
“The Libyan National Oil Corporation has been a primary funding source for the Gaddafi regime,” said Adam J Szubin, director of OFAC, in the statement.
“Consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1973, all governments should block the National Oil Corporation’s assets and ensure that Gaddafi cannot use this network of companies to support his activities.”
Following the US steps, European Union governments agreed on Wednesday to impose sanctions on NOC and to add four other oil firms to EU measures, diplomats said.
Oil exports from Libya, Africa’s third-largest oil producer before violence erupted there, have ground to a halt because of mounting difficulties with financing, sanctions and a lack of crude supplies.
Austrian energy group, which in 2010 got about a tenth of its production from Libya, said on Wednesday it had no deliveries pending or planned.
NOC Chairman Shokri Ghanem, who regularly speaks to international media about Libya’s oil industry, was not available to comment on Wednesday.
On Friday, he said NOC was still selling any available oil.
Agoco, a firm based in rebel-controlled east Libya, is planning to start marketing oil separately from its parent NOC.
An Agoco spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday the firm was drawing up new contracts he believed the rebel National Council would receive revenue from any Agoco sales of oil.
Libya produced about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day before the crisis, or almost 2% of world output.
While Agoco was included on the list of sanctioned companies, the Treasury statement said that could change should the firms come under different ownership.
“Should National Oil Corporation subsidiaries or facilities come under different ownership and control, Treasury may consider authorizing dealings with such entities,” it said.