LONDON (Reuters) - Commodities trader Glencore said on Thursday it recognises Libya's Tripoli-based National Oil Corp. (NOC) as the sole legal marketer of the country's oil, after securing an export deal earlier this year with the state-run company.
The Tripoli-based NOC has said it operates independently of either the rival government that controls the capital city or the internationally recognised government based in the east of the country, which earlier this year set up a separate NOC.
"International oil companies and the international community fully support NOC's position," said Alex Beard, head of oil at Glencore.
"They have made it very clear there is no alternative to the NOC at its legal address in Tripoli as the only recognised marketer of Libyan oil," he said in a statement.
Bloomberg reported last week the government in the east would prevent any tanker operated by Glencore from loading oil at Libyan ports if it did business with the Tripoli-based NOC.
Under the arrangement with the existing NOC, which began in September, Glencore loads and finds buyers for all the Sarir and Messla crude oil exported from the Marsa el-Hariga port near the country's eastern border with Egypt.
While Libyan oil exports peaked at 1.6 million barrels per day, battles between rival factions seeking to control the country, as well as strikes and blockades by local tribes, have kept production under 0.5 million bpd for most of the past year.
Mustafa Sanalla, the chairman of the Tripoli-based NOC, on Thursday reiterated comments told to Reuters in an interview earlier this month, that Libya's oil partners and the international community fully backed the company, despite attempts by the recognised government in the east to set up a parallel oil payments system.
"The NOC, at its legal address in Tripoli, remains the only legally empowered oil contracting authority of the Libyan state," Sanalla said.
"It remains the seat of contracts for all the production, transportation and sale of Libyan oil. The board of NOC is committed to protecting the integrity and viability of the NOC."
(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov, writing by Amanda Cooper; Editing by David Evans)