Oun, Sanalla dispute surfaces once again in Libya

The Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohamed Oun, issued a decision to suspend the Chairman of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, from work as a precaution, and referred him to an investigative committee.

In the decision to suspend and refer Sanalla to investigation, Sanalla was accused of committing a number of alleged administrative violations, including not obtaining prior permission from the Ministry of Oil regarding official tasks, and bypassing the administrative hierarchy, in addition to not transferring the “sovereign” departments from the subordination of the NOC to the subordination of the Oil Ministry, assigning an employee to head the institution in violation of the regulations regulating this.

The decision issued last Thursday stipulated the continuation of Sanalla’s detention until the results of the investigation committee are issued, which is carried out by the Administrative Control Authority, provided that its findings and recommendations are submitted to the minister, who will issue the final decision regarding Sanalla’s continuation in his position or not.

It is noteworthy that this decision is the second of its kind after a similar decision was issued in late August, according to which Oun referred the NOC Chairman to investigation, against the background of his travel outside the country without obtaining the approval of the minister, and his prevention and obstruction of assigning a member of the NOC board of directors, Jadallah Al-Awkali, and his insistence on managing the institution’s affairs from outside the country before the prime minister intervenes and stops the decision.

Sanalla had accused Oun of settling personal accounts and deliberately obstructing the institution’s work, describing the ministry he leads as a burden on the country’s oil industry, calling on him to work side by side with the institution that manages crude production and export operations.

The past period witnessed disputes between the two men that clearly reflected the size of the disagreement between them, as the ministry attributed the success achieved by declaring the unification of the NOC management to Oun’s efforts, in contrast to the announcement of the NOC, which blessed the latter’s decision to raise the bonuses for workers in the oil fields, which Sanalla had ruled out before approving it.

It is worth noting that the renewed dispute plaguing the country’s oil industry came at a time when the NOC is striving to raise oil production, which records 1.3 million barrels per day, with the sector’s need for huge investments, to renew the dilapidated infrastructure of the sector, which constitutes the backbone of the Libyan economy and its only source of currency income.

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