U.N. resolution authorizes force against illicit Libyan oil

March 20, 2014 at 8:49 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, March 20 (UPI) -- A resolution authorizing the boarding of vessels suspected of carrying illicit Libyan oil gives Tripoli the stability it needs to grow, the U.S. envoy said.

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to support a Chapter VII resolution that authorizes U.N. member states to board vessels and return any oil illegally seized from Libyan ports to the Libyan government.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said in a statement that, with Libya's oil funds accounting for the bulk of the government's budget, the resolution ensures Libya's oil wealth stays in the hands of the Libyan people.

"Good stewardship of Libya's oil resources is critical to supporting Libya's successful democratic transition," she said Wednesday.

A team of U.S. Navy SEALs raided the oil tanker Morning Glory, a North Korean-flagged ship, in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea last weekend after it took on a cargo of oil from a rebel-held port in eastern Libya.

The U.S. government said it has a stake in Libyan crude oil though a partnership with the Libyan National Oil Corp.

Ongoing security issues and internal rivalries have hurt Libya's oil production. British energy company BP has said it was reconsidering its options for exploration drilling onshore in Libya because of security concerns.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Libyan oil production for February was around 341,000 barrels per day, well below the pre-civil war peak of 1.6 million bpd.

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