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Qadhafi loyalists replace Ghanem in top oil job

Omran Abukraa has been appointed chairman of Libya’s state-owned National Oil Company

MUAMMAR Qadhafi has appointed Omran Abukraa, a close ally, to be chairman of Libya’s state-owned National Oil Company (NOC). Abukraa represented the country at divided Opec meeting in Vienna on 8 June.

Qadhafi has also appointed Azam Messalati, a well-known NOC executive, as the company’s general manager.

The moves follow the defection of Shokri Ghanem, once head of NOC and Libya’s oil minister. He announced his defection and support for the rebellion against Qadhafi at a news conference in Rome on 1 June.

Abukraa, described by a source as a revolutionary who has long enjoyed a close relationship with Qadhafi, was also a senior executive in Libya’s electricity sector.

Leading the country’s delegation to the Opec meeting on 8 June, Abukraa refused to field questions from the media, slipping into the gathering of oil ministers through a side entrance after negotiations began.

The EU has imposed sanctions against NOC and its senior officials, although neither Abukraa nor Messalati is named on the banned list.

Further reading:

One step forward, one back, for Libya rebels' oil exports

Libya at the crossroads

Libya rebels ‘spurn Ghanem’

The war for Libya’s oil

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