ODITIES trader Glencore has signed its first contract to deliver fuels to Libya’s interim council, industry sources said, in a further sign that rival Vitol is losing its place as top supplier to the rebels who now rule the country.
The National Transitional Council (NTC) has gained broad international recognition as Libya’s legitimate government and oil trading firms are vying for contracts to gain a foothold in the Opec member country, which holds Africa’s largest oil reserves.
The NTC badly needs fuels to help relieve strain on Libya’s infrastructure and prove it can restore order and basic services in a country reeling after six months of fighting.
“They are supplying products. The deal was for two shipments of gasoline and two shipments of gasoil,” said an industry source in Libya familiar with the transaction.
Glencore declined to comment.
The size of the cargoes was not disclosed but four standard-size products tankers are worth around $125m (£77.6m) at current European spot prices. It was not clear when delivery would begin but a second industry source said the contract was conditional on the lifting of UN sanctions on Libya, which still apply to the country’s National Oil Corporation.
Some fuel imports to Libya in the past two months have been arranged via Benghazi-based Arabian Gulf Oil Company, since it has a sanctions exemption.
Vitol, along with Qatar, was a top supplier for the rebels in east Libya during the first few months of the revolt and, while it is still sending fuel, the NTC has diversified its business partners.
In the past week, France’s Total has supplied its first tankers to Libya since the conflict between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi began in February.