France’s Total and other foreign oil firms have started procedures to renew their business licenses in Libya to keep operating in the country, the Libyan Minister of Economy of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Ali Al-Isawi, said Friday.
“If a license did not get renewed, there are several oil companies to take the oilfields in 24 hours. There is a lot of competition,” Isawi added.
In May, the GNA suspended Total and 39 other foreign firms, saying their licenses had expired, before granting a grace period of three months to renew their operation permits.
The decision also affected the aerospace company Thales and the telecoms company Alcatel.
Total is a major oil player in Libya, which pumps more than 1 million barrels of oil a day and aims to have reached 2.1 million barrels by 2023.
Some analysts linked the move to the weak diplomatic support by French President Emmanuel Macron for Libyan Prime Minister Faiez al-Sarraj.
Sarraj, who leads the U.N.-backed, Tripoli-based GNA, had wanted Macron to explicitly condemn the Libyan National Army for its attack on Tripoli, which started on April 4.
Macron only called for an unconditional ceasefire, a proposal the GNA believes rewards LNA operations and its international backers.