U.S. backs oil sales from Libyan rebels

June 21, 2011 at 7:31 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- Washington supports the sale of oil by the rebel-backed Transitional National Council in Libya to help meet the needs of Libyans, the U.S. government said.

The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control in May said transactions involving Qatar Petroleum or international oil trader Vitol and the rebel-backed National Transitional Council are permitted, provided the entity in Libya is under the control of the rebel-backed leadership.

The NTC said it was committed to ensuring that oil revenues would be distributed in a way that best suits the Libyan people.

About 1.2 million barrels of Libyan crude arrived June 8 in Hawaii. This was the first confirmed cargo purchased from the TNC, the U.S. State Department said.

The State Department in a statement said Washington "strongly encouraged" sales of oil by the TNC.

"U.S. support for oil sales by the TNC reflects its support for the people of Libya and responds to their need to raise revenue by selling oil and gas," the statement read. "We hope that it will encourage other companies in the United States and elsewhere to continue to purchase oil from the TNC."

The onset of the crisis in Libya in February helped push oil prices to two-year highs. Libya before the conflict was producing about 1.6 million barrels of oil per day with most of that designated for European markets.

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