Libya to Rebuild Army

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Libya to Rebuild Army
Released:  11/02/20142014-02-11
Word count:  511

Shahat — Libya's interim authorities say they are making efforts to bolster the military and build a professional army.

All Africa
The most important of these efforts are represented in sending batches of new conscripts, current soldiers and former fighters against Kadhafi's forces overseas to receive military training. "There are about 400 trainees in Turkey, and we'll send 400 more in the coming days to Italy," interim Prime Minister Ali Zidan said January 8th. "Turkey will take about 3,000 trainees, Britain will start with 400, to be raised to 2,000. We've also prepared 10 camps across the country to absorb those trainees." "There are currently 5,000 army trainees overseas, not to mention those recently sent to Italy, Turkey and Britain," he added. "They include officers and non-commissioned officers, sent to Pakistan, the Gulf, Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Germany, Britain, the United States and other world countries for training."

Libyan troops will also be sent to southern Europe to be trained by US troops as early as this summer. As many as 8,000 Libyan soldiers will take part in a 24-week training programme. The day after Zidan's statements, a batch of 400 officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers from an infantry battalion departed from Mitiga airport on their way to Italy to attend a training course lasting for three or four months as part of a programme to integrate former revolutionaries and rebuild the Libyan army.

Libyans, meanwhile, are urging Tripoli authorities to quickly bolster military forces in order to put an end to the relentless bombings and assassinations. "I have big questions about the slowness and failure to build the Libyan army, three years since liberation," political activist Nadia Jaaoda said.

"Events taking place now, including wars, conflicts, kidnappings and assassinations, indicate that there is no security, and show indifference and lack of desire to build the army," she told Magharebia. There is no hope "about building a state without first building the army", according to Jaaoda. "Building the army must not be arbitrary, but according to a clear plan and a comprehensive strategy, specifying the number of personnel in the army to be built, and determining whether it's going to be a defensive or offensive army," she continued.

She backed the idea of seeking international expertise, "to have a strategic ally that can help build the army". "We don't want our army to be just a soldier carrying a weapon and standing opposite a camp; rather, we want it to be a developed and educated soldier who can deal well with technology," the political activist concluded. Adel Elhasy is a former field commander of the Free Libyans Brigade. He disbanded the group following the GNC election in July 2012 and handed its weapons to the state. Now he recommends training those fighters in discipline, order and competency.

But according to Elhasy, groups with their own agendas, such as the "Libya Revolutionary Chamber", have impeded the building of an army. "All those are trying to form new entities under new names, such as the national guards, so they can have the deterrent military force in their hands," he told Magharebia.

These groups "won't accept a professional army with a correct doctrine, with army officers who joined the front and real revolutionaries forming its nucleus".
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News Business News
Released:  28/09/20162016-09-28
Word count:  54

BENGHAZI, Libya Sept 26 (Reuters) - Libya's Arabian Gulf Oil Company (AGOCO) has raised its production to 261,000 barrels per day (bpd), 50,000 bpd higher than its output last week, spokesman Omran al-Zwai said on Monday.

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Reuters
AGOCO, a subsidiary of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) that operates in eastern Libya, has boosted production since forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized blockaded oil terminals earlier this month and the NOC announced it would reopen them for exports.

(Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  28/09/20162016-09-28
Word count:  356

Oil prices rose in mixed trading on Wednesday, after sharp losses in the previous session, as industry data showed a surprise draw in U.S. crude stocks, although worries over a lack of agreement among producers to curb output kept a lid on gains.

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Reuters
Brent crude rose 24 cents to $46.21 a barrel as of 0502 GMT after settling down $1.38, or 2.9 percent.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 11 cents at $44.79 a barrel after climbing as high as $45.09 in earlier trading. The benchmark ended down $1.26, or 2.7 percent, in the previous session.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will hold informal talks at 1400 GMT on Wednesday. Its members are also meeting non-OPEC producers on the sidelines of the three-day International Energy Forum being held in Algiers and which ends on Wednesday.

Crude futures fell on Tuesday after Iran rejected an offer from Saudi Arabia to limit its oil output in exchange for Riyadh cutting supply, dashing market hopes the two major OPEC producers would find a compromise this week to help ease a global glut of crude.

The market is coming to think this week's discussions could provide the groundwork for an agreement at OPEC's formal policy meeting set for Nov. 30 in Vienna, said Vyanne Lai, oil analyst at National Australia Bank in Melbourne.

"I think OPEC producers realise they can't continue to expand production indefinitely - OPEC producers are close to maximum capacity - so there could be room for a deal (in November)," Lai said.

An agreement in November could provide a short-term boost to prices, Lai said, although the level of support would depend at what level output is curbed, Lai said.

"Our expectation is prices will be relatively range-bound at slightly below $50," Lai said.

Investors had largely priced in the likely lack of a deal among oil producers in Algiers and were focused on official U.S. oil stocks data from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) to be released later in the day, Lai said.

"Prices could draw support from U.S. inventory data. Prices could track higher but below the levels of yesterday," Lai said.

Data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed crude stocks fell 752,000 barrels in the week ended Sept. 23 to 506.4 million barrels. Analysts polled by Reuters were forecasting a 2.8 million-barrel build. [API/S]

(Reporting by Keith Wallis; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christian Schmollinger)  
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Business News

Business News

The 4th Libya Experts Development Cooperation Forum will be held in Tunis 28-29 September organized and sponsored by UNSMIL, UNDP, IMF and the World Bank.

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Libya herald
The forum is made up of about 60 Libyan former Ministers, including members of the NTC, the Interim Governments and GNA, as well as academics, experts and activists.

The forum aims to promote synergy between the Libyan intellectual community and government decision-makers. It is an advisory body which is able to translate the findings of fundamental research into policy options and to enable politicians to see the effects of their decisions.

It aims to provide support at a time of post-conflict peacebuilding and state-building, when the fragile Libyan government finds it difficult to obtain all relevant information and knowledge on priority issues that they need to justify policy decisions in terms of potential consequences.

The forum hopes to help Libya as it faces highly complex development challenges. These include priorities such as ensuring inclusive politics, addressing security and rule of law reforms, putting the economy in order so as to achieve sustainable growth, meeting the demand for better basic service delivery, stabilizing government functions, creating jobs and enhancing labour productivity, and eliminating economic, social and cultural aspects of inequality.

To help the Libyan authorities achieve these objectives, the forum has drafted a short-term roadmap for the Libyan government for implementation during the first year following the signing of the UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement in Morocco’s Skhirat in December 2015.

The roadmap was based on field work conducted by experts within the forum and aims to provide visionary policy options for core areas of government, hoping to kick start key drivers of change.

The fourth meeting of the Experts Forum in Tunis aims to discuss actions related to different line ministries in this roadmap. These actions are categorized into tangible actions with concrete outcomes and intangible actions that constitute outcomes geared towards strengthening institutions and streamlining policies and programmes.

These tangible and intangible actions fall into seven broad categories:

1. Meeting Emergency and Humanitarian Needs and Improving Access to Basic Services

2. Restoring Macro Economic Stability and Building a Platform for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development

3. Ensuring Early Local Economic Recovery, Protecting Livelihoods, Empowering Youth, Brokering Social Reconciliation and Enforcing Procedural Justice in Local Administration

4. Stabilizing Government Functions, Capacity and Transparency to Deliver the 180 Days Roadmap

5. Providing Security and Rule of Law and Citizens’ Rights Protection

6. Consolidate the Political Process and Agree on a Roadmap to a New Constitution

7. Enabling the GNA to Communicate with Citizens in the Public Sphere to Assure Societal Accountability and Solicit National Visioning for the State-Society Social Contract and the New Deal
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  23/09/20162016-09-23
Word count:  372

Oil prices fell on Friday, pulled down by a sell-off following two sessions of strong rises and on caution ahead of a gathering of OPEC ministers next week in Algeria to discuss possible production cooperation to rein in global oversupply.

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Reuters
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures CLc1 were trading at $45.98 per barrel at 0648 GMT (2:48 am ET), down 34 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their previous close.

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 25 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $47.40 a barrel.

Traders said that the declines were largely down to technical indicators and also selling pressure following strong price gains in the previous two trading sessions.

Matt Stanley, a fuel broker at Freight Investor Services in Dubai, said that there was a lot of uncertainty in the market regarding price trends.

"Nobody is really sure where we will go from here which strikes me that $47.50 is a number we may hover around for a while," he said.

The price falls may also be related to an increase in crude supplies, with global production already exceeding consumption almost without interruption since mid-2014.

War-torn Libya, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exported its first cargo from its Ras Lanuf port since at least 2014 this week, contributing to OPEC's record production PRODN-TOTAL of 33.5 million barrels.

"Supply has increased again," said London-based commodity brokerage Marex Spectron, adding that at the same time "a significant amount of refining capacity is out of the market, which puts a lid on the demand for crude oil."

OPEC could see a new push to clinch a first deal to curb output since 2008 next week when the group meets informally in Algeria next week.

Although most market observers say an agreement that would significantly cut record output is unlikely, analysts said that some form of cooperation among exporters, which could at least prevent production from ballooning further, was possible.

ANZ bank said on Friday that it did not expect a formal deal, but added that "discussions between Saudi Arabia and Iran this week suggest they are keen to get something done..., which raises the possibility of a sharp reaction to the upside in prices if an agreement is reached."

U.S. investment bank Jefferies said that "rhetoric into the event seems to be shifting towards agreements to continue talking with action potentially coming later on (at) the next formal OPEC meeting in Vienna" in November.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Christian Schmollinger)
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4 days ago

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  22/09/20162016-09-22
Word count:  338

Oil prices rose around 1 percent on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session after a surprise third consecutive weekly U.S. crude inventory draw tightened the market.

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Reuters
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures CLc1 were trading at $45.81 per barrel at 0301 GMT (11:01 p.m. EDT), up 47 cents, or 1 percent, from their previous close. The contract had already gained as much as 3 percent the day before.

Prices jumped after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a 6.2 million-barrel drop in crude oil inventories last week to 504.6 million barrels. Forecasters in a Reuters poll had expected a 3.4 million-barrel build.

"Oil prices rose after EIA data showed U.S. crude inventories declined to the lowest level since February," ANZ bank said in a note on Thursday.

International benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 were also up, gaining 48 cents, or 1 percent, from their last close to $47.31 per barrel. Brent was lifted by an oil workers' strike in Norway, which threatened to cut North Sea crude output.

A weaker dollar .DXY after the Federal Reserve left U.S. interest rates unchanged also supported oil prices as it makes dollar-traded fuel imports cheaper for countries using other currencies.

Analysts, however, said they expect oil prices to remain range-bound at relatively low levels with global output near record highs and surpassing consumption, adding that producer talks in Algeria next week were likely to change little.

The United Arab Emirates, a participating producer, said on Wednesday that the talks were aimed at consultations rather than deciding production restraint or even cuts.

"In a world of continued (U.S.) shale productivity gains that cause other oil producing regions around the world to become highly focused on cost competitiveness, we believe investors and companies should prepare for an environment of rangebound oil prices," Goldman Sachs said in a note to investors published late on Wednesday.

In a clear illustration of the impact on the ground of an the oil market downturn, the waters around Singapore have become the dumping ground for hundreds of drilling and offshore oil support vessels that have become surplus to requirement in the current era of cheap crude.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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Business News

Business News
Released:  22/09/20162016-09-22
Word count:  527

An oil tanker left the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf for Italy early on Wednesday with the first crude export cargo from the terminal since at least late 2014, boosting hopes of reviving Libya's oil output.

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Reuters
The port manager of Ras Lanuf said a second tanker was preparing to load at the terminal, one of four seized on Sept. 11-12 by eastern Libyan forces loyal to military leader Khalifa Haftar.

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) has welcomed a promise by Haftar's forces to allow the NOC to control the ports. NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said on Wednesday that national production had risen to about 390,000 barrels per day (bpd) from less than 290,000 bpd before the change of control at the ports.

Any boost in production through the ports could also benefit the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli as it tries to unite rival armed factions and stabilise the economy, though Haftar has so far rejected the GNA.

The NOC said last week it would begin exports immediately from Ras Lanuf and Zueitina, and that it would start them as soon as possible from Es Sider. Exports have continued from Brega, the fourth port that was seized and that had remained open.

Together, the ports have a capacity of nearly 800,000 barrels per day (bpd), though Ras Lanuf and Es Sider have been damaged in clashes and Brega has been operating at below its maximum capacity.

Armed conflict and disputes have left Libya's oil installations under the control of different factions and cut output to a fraction of the 1.6 million bpd it produced before an uprising toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The NOC has ambitious goals of producing more than 900,000 bpd by the end of the year, but says it needs funding for its operating budget and the reopening of blockaded pipelines in western Libya to reach that target.

Sanalla said on Wednesday that the NOC had so far received 310 million Libyan dinars ($220 million) from the GNA, and had been promised another 300 million. "These amounts of money are not enough but we take into account the difficult financial situation currently," he said.

Haftar's forces seized the ports from a rival armed group that had controlled them for more than two years, and fended off a counter attack on Sunday.

Many in western Libya suspect Haftar, a former Gaddafi ally, of plotting to take power nationally.

Factions that support him have tried to export oil from eastern Libya independently, bypassing the NOC in Tripoli, though they have also allowed oil shipments for NOC Tripoli to continue from the eastern port of Hariga.

After Haftar's forces seized the ports the United States and major European powers called for them to withdraw, cautioning that they would move to block any shipments that took place outside the authority of the GNA.

The Seadelta tanker that left Ras Lanuf on Wednesday loaded with 700,000 barrels of crude and the second tanker that was preparing to load were both arranged before Haftar's forces seized the ports.

Sanalla has said he received the go-ahead from the GNA's leadership before moving to open the ports last week, and that export earnings would be channelled through Tripoli. "The increase of oil production will help earn more money and the revenues will go to the central bank," he said on Wednesday.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis, editing by Patrick Markey)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  21/09/20162016-09-21
Word count:  435

Futures rose 0.6 percent in New York. The greenback fell as investors largely ruled out a Federal Reserve hike in September. Futures retreated from the day’s high as a tanker returned to Libya’s Ras Lanuf export terminal to load oil after clashes halted what will be the first overseas crude shipment from the terminal since 2014.

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Bloomberg
OPEC may call an extraordinary meeting if ministers reach consensus at informal talks next week, Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said, according to the Algerian Press Service.

"The market’s moving on trepidation about the upcoming Fed meeting, which has had a big impact on the dollar," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York hedge fund focused on energy. "There’s also a lot of sorting out of the OPEC comments. There are some people who pay inordinate attention to them."

Oil has fluctuated since rallying in August on speculation the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia will agree on measures to stabilize the market at the meeting next week in Algiers. Prices tumbled 6.2 percent last week amid concern the resumption of shipments from Libya, as well as Nigeria, would worsen a global glut.

West Texas Intermediate for October delivery, which expires Tuesday, climbed 27 cents to close at $43.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more-active November contract rose 24 cents to $43.86. Total volume traded was 15 percent below the 100-day average.

Dollar Decline

Brent for November settlement advanced 18 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $45.95 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark closed at a $2.09 premium to WTI for November delivery.

For a story on hedge funds cutting bets on lower and higher prices, click here.

The dollar declined from a seven-week high as investors braced for the Fed policy decision on Wednesday while Goldman Sachs Asset Management said the greenback’s rally is set to fizzle. A falling dollar makes raw materials priced in the currency more attractive to investors.

The tanker Seadelta returned to Libya’s third-biggest oil port to resume loading 781,000 barrels of oil for shipment to Italy, Nasser Delaab, an inspector at Harouge Oil Operations, said Monday by phone. Another vessel, the Syra, would arrive in Ras Lanuf later on Monday to ship 600,000 barrels of crude to Italy, he said.

Libyan Unrest

The Seadelta had halted loading after fighting on Sunday between local Petroleum Facilities Guard units and forces loyal to eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Next week’s OPEC gathering will be a “meeting of consultation and not of decision-making,” unlike the group’s meeting in Oran, Algeria, in 2008, when it agreed to cut production, Barkindo said Saturday, according to Algeria’s official news agency.

OPEC members are close to reaching an agreement on how to stabilize the market, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Sunday at a press conference after speaking to his counterparts from Iran and Ecuador. Maduro said he hopes an accord can be reached by the end of the month.
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  21/09/20162016-09-21
Word count:  401

Oil prices climbed on Wednesday, supported by a reported draw in U.S. crude inventories and by firm import data from Japan.

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Reuters
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 1.8 percent, or 81 cents, at $44.86 a barrel at 0403 GMT. The October contract expired yesterday at $43.44 a barrel and the front-month has now rolled over to November delivery.

Traders said that the main WTI price driver had been American Petroleum Institute data showing a 7.5 million barrel draw to 507.2 million barrels in U.S. crude inventories, the third weekly stock draw.

Market participants had expected an increase of 3.4 million barrels, according to a Reuters poll.

Official storage data is due to be published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Wednesday, and traders said they were also eagerly anticipating a meeting by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) which might influence U.S. interest rates.

"Wednesday has become 'Big Wednesday' for oil traders, with not only the FOMC but also the EIA crude inventory numbers out… Should they (EIA) follow the unexpected drawdown like the API and we get no FOMC rate hike, oil bulls may well have reason to be cheering after a tough couple of weeks," said Singapore-based brokerage Oanda.

International Brent crude futures were at $46.47 per barrel, up 59 cents, or 1.3 percent, from their last close.

Traders said that Brent was being supported by firm imports from Japan.

Japan's customs-cleared crude imports rose 0.5 percent in August from the same month a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday.

Japan, the world's fourth-biggest oil buyer, imported 3.38 million barrels per day of crude last month, the data showed.

Overall, however, oil markets remain oversupplied as exporters around the world pump near record amounts.

Oil producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and also Russia plan to meet in Algeria next week to discuss measures to rein in the oversupply, but analysts said they did not expect significant cuts to production.

"OPEC members will not agree on a production freeze at the end of September at the meeting in Algiers. Political tensions will prevent cohesion, and individual members will continue to protect market share from resilient non-OPEC producers," BMI Research said in a note to clients.

"Even if an agreement to freeze production is reached, this will change very little for the global oil market, given that most OPEC members are already producing close to their peak capacity," it added.

(Additional reporting by Mark Tay; Editing by Joseph Radford and Christian Schmollinger)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  20/09/20162016-09-20
Word count:  283

Oil prices fell on Tuesday after Venezuela said that global supplies needed to fall by 10 percent in order to bring production down to consumption levels, and technical indicators also pointed to cheaper crude futures.

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Reuters
Global oil supply of 94 million barrels per day needs to fall by about a tenth if it is to match consumption, Venezuela's Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino said on Monday.

International benchmark Brent crude oil futures were trading at $45.81 per barrel at 0139 GMT, down 17 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 22 cents at $43.08 a barrel.

"Global production is at 94 million barrels per day, of which we need to go down 9 million barrels per day to sustain the level of consumption," Del Pino said in an interview with state oil company PDVSA's internal TV station.

Del Pino is also president of PDVSA.

The statements came the same day as credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's said that a proposed bond swap by PDVSA was a "distressed exchange" that would be "tantamount to default" if completed, a blow to the cash-strapped firm's effort to seek a financial lifeline.

Technical market indicators were also weak, with WTI likely to test support at $42.78 per barrel soon, after which a fall towards $42 would be likely, according to Reuters analyst Wang Tao.

For Brent, he said that prices may test support at $45.63 per barrel and, failing to hold that level, could fall to just over $45 a barrel.

Despite the bearish market mood on Monday, hedge funds scaled back some of their short positions in crude oil futures and options after prices failed to fall further, suggesting the market was running out of negative momentum.

Along with other money managers they cut their combined short position in the three main Brent and WTI contracts by 36 million barrels in the week to Sept. 13.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford and Ed Davies)

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Business News

Business News
Released:  20/09/20162016-09-20
Word count:  112

A workshop on opportunities in Libya in spite of the current crisis but also so to be in a key position in future is to take place in Malta on the 27 September. It is being organised by Libyan-Maltese Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the African-German Business Association.

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Libya herald
It is designed to help companies in Malta or using Malta as a base to collaborate with German companies looking to do business in Libya.

The Germany-Malta-Libya Business Encounter will include a number of German companies from the medical, aviation, transport and logistics, airport management, renewable energy, water treatment and security services sectors, already doing business with Libya.

The meeting which has the backing of the Maltese government and Maltese companies currently involved in Libya along with Libyan companies with offices in Malta are also being invited.

For further information contact admin@libyanmltesechamber.org.mt. Applications to take part close on 22 September.

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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  19/09/20162016-09-19
Word count:  231

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that OPEC and non-OPEC countries were close to reaching a deal to stabilise oil markets and that he aimed for a deal to be announced this month.

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Reuters
OPEC members may call an extraordinary meeting to discuss oil prices if they reach consensus at an informal gathering in Algiers this month, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said during a visit to Algeria, the country's state news agency, APS, reported on Sunday.

Maduro, an oil price hawk who was speaking at the end of a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on Margarita Island, Venezuela, where diplomats also met to discuss the oil market, said a deal was imminent.

"We had a long bilateral meeting with Rouhani. We're close to a deal between OPEC producer countries and non-OPEC," Maduro told a news conference.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who attended the summit, said Tehran supported any move to stabilise the global oil market and lift prices, according to the Iranian Oil Ministry news agency, SHANA.

Venezuela has been seeking an oil deal for years as its state-led economy reels under low oil prices, and has often said it was close to reaching an agreement.

OPEC members will meet on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum, which groups producers and consumers, in Algeria from Sept. 26 to 28. Non-OPEC producer Russia is also attending the forum.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will probably revive talks on freezing oil production levels when it meets non-OPEC nations in Algeria, sources have told Reuters.

(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Contract News

Contract News
Released:  19/09/20162016-09-19
Word count:  657

The Libyan Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology Holding Company (LPTIC) has won the fourth mobile phone operating licence in the Ivory Coast.

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Libya herald
This had come about as a result of a decision by the Ivorian state’s desire to restructure the telecoms sector, and particularly the mobile sector, by limiting the number of operators to only four.

LPTIC’s operating licence in the Ivory Coast had also expired and was due for renewal. The three other Ivorian operators who had won the other three operating licences were Orange, MTN and Moov. In March the Ivorian authorities had withdrawn the operating licences of three other operators.

It will be recalled that, as part of the restructuring of the telecommunications investment in Africa last August, ownership of the Ivory Coast subsidiary LAP GreenN was transferred from the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP) to LPTIC.

LPTIC was aiming to secure the renewal of the Ivorian license to the new universal integrated telecom license on offer in order to upgrade and provide new services.

This LPTIC had said, was part of a comprehensive strategic plan developed by it to improve and develop its Ivorian subsidiary. LPTIC had presented its new plan to the Ivorian authorities back in January of this year.

LPTIC chairman Faisel Gergab, had held a meeting with the Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology of Ivory Coast, Koné Bruno, at the headquarters of the ministry in the Ivorian city, Abidjan in January this year. A number of other meetings had been held with the Ivorian authorities since, LPTIC reported.

Operational and regulatory challenges facing the LPTIC’s subsidiary and a comprehensive action plan were discussed and presented to the Government of the Ivory Coast aimed at restructuring the company and improving its competitive position in the local market, LPTIC had explained.

It will be recalled that in 2012, Zambia seized LAP GreenN’s telecoms investments (Zamtel), a move that Libya is appealing at the Zambian High Court. LAP GreenN also succeeded in regaining control of its telecoms investment in Uganda (Utl) in March 2012 after it paid its outstanding debts accrued during the 2011 revolution.

Meanwhile, in August 2015, the Ivorian government had agreed to a LAP GreenN plan to consolidate the four weakest operators – including LAP GreenN Ivory Coast – into one company in return for an increased shareholding to the Ivorian government.

The increased shares were in order to compensate the money owed by LAP GreenN Ivory Coast to the Ivorian government in licence and other fees. LAP, the previous owner of LAP GreenN has investments valued at US$ 5 billion, and is a subsidiary of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), Libya’s main sovereign wealth entity, with investments valued at US$ 67 billion.

LPTIC owns all the main state telecommunications companies in Libya including the two main state mobile operators Libyana and Al-Madar, the main state internet provider Libya Telecom and Technology (LTT), Aljeel, International Telecommunications Company, Hatef Libya and the real estate investment company Alboniya.

Speaking to Libya Herald on strict conditions of anonymity, sources admitted that they were pleasantly surprised that the Ivorians had decided to grant LPTIC the fourth licence.

After all, LPTIC, like LAP, were struggling to convince the Libyan government to pump any more money into the Ivory Coast subsidiary in order to pay outstanding licence fees and other debts and to restructure and upgraded in line with the Ivorian demands. It was therefore thought more likely than not that LPTIC would fail to win a new Ivorian operating mobile phone licence.

Commenting on the Ivorian award of the fourth licence to LPTIC, Chairman Faisal Gergab, said, “We are pleased that LPTIC has been awarded the fourth universal license in Ivory Coast. The Ivorian market is one of the largest and fastest-growing in Africa’’.

‘‘Furthermore, this license will allow LPTIC to broaden its horizons by entering fast-growing emerging markets. It will also provide LPTIC with a solid foundation to strengthen its presence and expertise in order to improve services and achieve commercial benefits. Consequently, LPTIC is well positioned to play an instrumental role in the socio-economic reform of Libya’’.  
Comments:

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  16/09/20162016-09-16
Word count:  227

Oil prices fell on Friday on worries that U.S. rig counts would continue to rise and that returning Libyan and Nigerian exports would stoke a global supply glut.

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Brent crude futures were trading at $46.20 per barrel at 0643 GMT, down 39 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were down 36 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $43.55 a barrel.

"The focus will turn to drilling activity in the U.S., with another rise expected to raise concerns about a recovery in U.S. output," Australian bank ANZ said in a note.

Baker Hughes U.S. rig count data for the week to Sept. 16 is due on Friday. WTI prices that have held above $40 a barrel since the start of August have supported the growth in the number of U.S. rigs.

U.S. drillers added seven oil rigs in the week to Sept. 9, bringing the total rig count to 414, the most since February. Returning supply from Libya and Nigeria will hamper a rebalancing of the global crude market, weighing on sentiment, traders said.

Libya is resuming oil exports from some of its main ports which forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized in recent days and has lifted related "force majeure" contractual clauses, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Thursday.

ExxonMobil has a pipeline prepared to export Nigeria's Qua Iboe crude oil, with the first cargo expected to load as early as the end of September, trading sources said on Thursday.

(Reporting by Mark Tay; Editing by Joseph Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)
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Business News

Business News
Released:  16/09/20162016-09-16
Word count:  711

Libya is resuming oil exports from some of its main ports which forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized in recent days and has lifted related "force majeuere" contractual clauses, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Thursday.

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The north African nation is highly dependent on hydrocarbon revenues and needs oil exports to resume to save its economy from collapse. Conflict since Libya's 2011 uprising has reduced its oil output to a fraction of the 1.6 million barrels per day the OPEC member once produced.

"Exports will resume immediately from Zueitina and Ras Lanuf, and will continue at Brega ... exports will resume from Es Sider as soon as possible," NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said.

He said Libya's U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and a parliament based in eastern Libya both backed reopening the ports which have been controlled by forces loyal to Haftar since Sept 11-12.

Haftar has been an outspoken opponent of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, and his seizure of the four ports from a rival force aligned with the GNA had raised fears of fresh conflict over Libya's oil resources.

"NOC is in charge of the ports," Sanalla said on Thursday, a day after visiting Zueitina. "They are secure, and we have been in contact with our foreign commercial partners."

A Reuters reporter at Zueitina saw large numbers of military vehicles and men belonging to a guard force allied to Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA).

Western powers had condemned Haftar's seizure of the ports and had said they were ready to prevent any exports attempted outside the GNA's authority.

"(This) had the potential to escalate, with potentially devastating consequences for the nation and our petroleum industry," Sanalla said.

"Instead, we have found a shared interest in letting the oil flow, and the wisdom of that decision needs to be recognised." U.S. Libya envoy Jonathan Winer called reports of the LNA handing over control of the ports to the NOC a "promising development", writing on Twitter that increased oil production could have an "immediate positive impact".

Libya could raise output to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) within a month and to 950,000 by the end of the year from about 290,000 currently, Sanalla said this week, but he said NOC would need new funds and blockaded pipelines in southwest Libya would need to be reopened.

Declaring "force majeuere" allows an oil supplier to break a contract because of circumstances beyond its control. TANKER ARRIVES

A port official at Ras Lanuf said a tanker had docked to load crude on Thursday, the first to do so since at least 2014, and that a second tanker had docked at Brega, which has remained open.

Both were arranged before the LNA seized control of the ports, the official said. In July, the Petroleum Facilities Guard force that was previously in control of the ports struck a deal with the GNA to reopen Es Sider, Ras Lanuf and Zueitina, which it had long been blockading.

On Thursday, production also resumed at the Nafoura oilfield which was shut in November 2015, an oil official said. The field previously produced 25,000-30,000 bpd.

Es Sider and Ras Lanuf ports have been damaged by militant attacks and fighting. Officials at Zueitina said it was in good condition, though only about 130 out of 550 workers had returned to their posts.

Libya's internationally recognised parliament relocated to the east of the country in 2014 after armed rivals took control of Tripoli.

The GNA, set up in Tripoli in March, is meant to replace competing parliaments and governments in Tripoli and the east, but has failed to win endorsement from eastern factions aligned with Haftar.

He is a former ally of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi and has expanded his power over the past two years, waging a military campaign against Islamists and other opponents.

On Wednesday the head of the eastern parliament promoted him from general to marshal. He is distrusted by many in the west of the country who see him as a new military strongman in the making.

Tripoli's NOC, led by Sanalla, signed a unification deal in July with a rival NOC set up in Benghazi in the east that is loyal to pro-Haftar factions.

A currency trader said the Libyan dinar had strengthened from more than 5 dinars to 4.15 dinars to the dollar on the parallel market in Benghazi on news of the oil ports opening.

(Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis in Tunis and Julia Payne in London; Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Keith Weir and Dan Grebler)  
Comments:

Business News

Business News
Released:  15/09/20162016-09-15
Word count:  339

The chairman of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) visited the port of Zueitina on Wednesday and said he would work to lift force majeure there, according to the head of a guard force now in control of the terminal.

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The visit by NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla comes days after forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized Zueitina and three other oil ports from a rival force allied to the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. Sanalla said on Tuesday that the NOC would begin work immediately to restart exports from the ports, but the plan could face political and legal resistance.

Some members of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has criticized Haftar's seizure of the ports, and Western powers condemned the move, saying they were ready to prevent any exports attempted outside the GNA's authority.

Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) started taking over the ports in a dawn operation on Sunday. They displaced a guard force led by Ibrahim Jathran, who had recently signed a controversial deal with the GNA to lift his blockade of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Zueitina.

Miftah Magariaf, the head of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) allied with Haftar's forces, said Sanalla had told employees at Zueitina to "prepare for production" and that he would "go to Tripoli to complete steps for the lifting of force majeure at the port".

Political turmoil, armed conflict and militant attacks have reduced Libya's oil production to a fraction of the 1.6 million barrels per day it produced before the North African country's 2011 uprising.

Some infrastructure, including at Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals, has been badly damaged.

Sanalla said on Tuesday that production could be raised to 600,000 bpd from about 290,000 bpd within a month, and to 950,000 bpd by the end of the year.

But he said this would depend on the NOC receiving new funds and on the reopening of pipelines in southwest Libya that have been shut in a protest.

Sanalla is head of the NOC in Tripoli, which has continued to enjoy international backing throughout Libya's crisis.

He signed an agreement in July to unite Tripoli's NOC with a rival NOC in Benghazi that is loyal to pro-Haftar factions.

(Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by David Clarke and Jason Neely)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  15/09/20162016-09-15
Word count:  265

Oil prices rose on Thursday after falling around 3 percent in the previous session, supported by an unexpected fall in U.S. crude inventories.

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U.S. crude inventories dropped by 559,000 barrels in the week to Sept. 9, defying analysts expectations of a crude build of 3.8 million barrels.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $46.05 per barrel at 0642 GMT (02:42 a.m. EDT), up 20 cents, or 0.4 percent, from the last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 were up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $43.64 a barrel.

Crude prices fell about 3 percent for a second straight day on Wednesday following a 4.6 million barrel build in U.S. distillates inventories. The jump was the biggest weekly build since January and put distillate stocks at six-year seasonal highs.

"It's good news at this time of the year to see a draw like that (in crude stocks)," said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst for CMC Markets. "But the market seems to be more concerned at the moment about the possibility of a sharp increase of the supply from Libya."

Crude prices have fallen by around 8 percent in the last five trading sessions, and concerns are growing over the possibility of returning crude supplies from Libya and Nigeria.

"Both Nigeria and Libya have seen domestic conflicts curb exports. However, both are looking to resume some facilities in the coming weeks," Australian bank ANZ said in a note.

Libya is working to lift force majeure at its port of Zueitina, indicating that Libyan crude exports could start flowing soon.

Expectations that Nigerian crude supplies could also be returning as offers for October-loading Qua Iboe crude have emerged even as force majeure on the grade remains in place.

(Reporting by Mark Tay; Editing by Richard Pullin and Subhranshu Sahu)
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Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  14/09/20162016-09-14
Word count:  229

Oil prices rebounded in Asian trade on Wednesday after falling by as much as 3 percent in the previous session, as data from an industry group showed a smaller-than-expected build in U.S. crude stocks.

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a crude build of 1.4 million barrels for the week ended Sept. 9, smaller than the 3.8 million-barrel rise expected by analysts. The U.S. government will issue official inventory data on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures were trading at $47.34 per barrel at 0103 GMT, up 24 cents, or 0.5 percent, from the last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures were up 29 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $45.19 a barrel.

Crude prices tumbled on Tuesday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said slowing oil demand growth amid growing inventories and supplies could signal that the market will be oversupplied at least through the first half of 2017.

"Oil came under heavy selling after the EIA released its monthly report showing it expected the surplus in the market to persist well into 2017," Australian bank ANZ said in a note. "Weaker oil prices are likely to weigh on the sector, with investor appetite remaining weak."

Gains in crude prices could also be capped by rising crude exports from Libya after the country's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday it would immediately start working to resume crude exports from ports seized in recent days by forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

Libyan production could be raised to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) from about 290,000 bpd within a month, further adding to the global crude supply glut.

(Reporting by Mark Tay; Editing by Ed Davies)
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Business News

Business News
Released:  14/09/20162016-09-14
Word count:  817

Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday it would immediately start working to resume crude exports from ports seized in recent days by forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.

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Welcoming pledges from Haftar's Libyan National Army and the pro-Haftar head of Libya's eastern parliament that the ports would be placed under NOC control, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said he hoped for a "new phase of cooperation", and that production could be raised to 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) from about 290,000 bpd within a month.

Any such plans are likely to face political, legal and technical obstacles. Haftar has so far opposed a United Nations-backed government in Tripoli. The United States and five European powers condemned his move on the oil ports on Monday, saying they would enforce a U.N. Security Council resolution against "illicit" exports outside the authority of that government.

Libya desperately needs to revive oil output and exports to stave off an economic collapse.

Political turmoil, armed conflict and militant attacks have reduced Libya's oil production to a fraction of the 1.6 million bpd it was producing before the North African country's 2011 uprising. Some infrastructure, including at key oil export terminals, has been badly damaged.

Starting on Sunday, pro-Haftar forces took control of the ports of Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Brega and Zueitina from units of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), a rival force allied to the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

The move risks provoking armed retaliation from Haftar's rivals and deepening an east-west divide, potentially prolonging the conflict and fragmentation that developed after longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled five years ago.

Many in western Libya, including key backers of the GNA, see Haftar as a new strongman in the making and want him to have no role in the country's future. But he has gained popularity in the east, where he has waged a campaign against Islamists and other opponents for the past two years.

The NOC said on Tuesday

it would "begin work immediately to restart exports", and that all exports must conform with the U.N. resolution.

"Our technical teams already started assessing what needs to be done to lift force majeure and restart exports as soon as possible", Sanalla said in a statement.

"I hope this marks the beginning of a new phase of cooperation and coexistence between Libya's factions, as well as an end to the use of the blockade as a political tactic."

CONCILIATORY TONE

The GNA's prime minister, Fayez Seraj, struck a conciliatory tone in a statement late on Tuesday. Without directly addressing the seizure of the oil ports, he said he would not "lead any Libyan group or run a war against any other Libyan group for political or regional or ideological motives", calling for a dialogue among all parties.

The PFG had struck a deal with the GNA in July to resume exports from Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Zueitina, all of which the PFG had been blockading for years.

Sanalla had spoken out against that deal, accusing PFG commander Ibrahim Jathran of overclaiming for the back payment of salaries and signalling that he might withdraw support from the GNA. But the NOC had offered two cargoes for export from Ras Lanuf for later this month.

The NOC said that if exports resumed from the seized ports, it hoped to raise production to 950,000 bpd by the end of the year. "However, this is dependent on receiving essential funds from the budget and on the Oil Crescent ports and the closed pipelines in the southwest being opened and kept open," Sanalla said.

The GNA is the result of a U.N.-brokered deal signed in December. It is meant to replace two competing governments that were operating in Tripoli and eastern Libya since 2014.

The GNA has largely displaced the previous government in the capital. But it has failed to win the endorsement of the eastern government and parliament, which appointed Haftar as its top military official last year.

Both the GNA and the international community have struggled to engage with eastern factions. Briefing the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday, U.N. Libya envoy Martin Kobler said the "fragile peace" in the area that is home to the ports had been dealt a "fierce blow" by Haftar's move.

"This development will further hinder oil exports, deprive Libya of its only source of income, and increase the division of the country", he said.

"I have many times sought to engage with General Haftar to encourage him to embrace dialogue. However, my repeated attempts have so far been without success".

Eastern factions previously tried unsuccessfully to export oil independently through a breakaway branch of the NOC in Benghazi. In July, the NOC offices in Tripoli and Benghazi signed an agreement to unify. In its statement on Tuesday, the NOC said that under that deal, it recognised the GNA's leadership, or Presidential Council, as the highest executive authority in Libya and the eastern parliament as the highest legislative authority.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by G Crosse and Peter Cooney)
Comments:

Oil & Gas News

Oil & Gas News
Released:  13/09/20162016-09-13
Word count:  499

OPEC raised its forecast of oil supplies from non-member countries in 2017 as new fields come online and U.S. shale drillers prove more resilient than expected to cheap crude, pointing to a larger surplus in the market next year.

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Demand for crude from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will average 32.48 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017, OPEC said in a monthly report on Monday. That is down 530,000 bpd from the previous forecast.

The prospect of a larger surplus than expected adds to the challenge of OPEC and non-members such as Russia, who are making a renewed attempt to restrain supplies. Oil LCOc1 is trading at $47 a barrel, half its level of mid-2014, as a supply glut that OPEC hoped cheap oil would banish sticks around.

OPEC revised up its 2016 and 2017 non-OPEC supply forecasts, citing factors including the start up of Kazakhstan's Kashagan oilfield and a lower-than-expected decline in U.S. shale output, and said the immediate outlook was for more production.

"It is expected that there will be higher non-OPEC production in the second half of 2016 compared to the first half," OPEC said in the report.

OPEC expects non-OPEC supply to rise by 200,000 bpd in 2017, versus a previously forecast 150,000 bpd decline. The revision is mostly due to Kashagan, OPEC said, as the long-delayed giant field finally starts up. On top of that, the forecast for this year was revised up by 180,000 bpd.

OPEC itself kept output near a multi-year high in August, pumping 33.24 million bpd, according to figures OPEC collects from secondary sources, down 23,000 bpd from July's figure, the report said.

The July figure is the highest since at least 2008, according to a Reuters review of past OPEC reports.

Near-record OPEC output, and higher supply from outside, could make it harder for OPEC and Russia to come up with steps to support the market. Producers are expected to meet in Algeria on the sidelines of the Sept. 26-28 International Energy Forum.

An attempt by producers to agree to a production freeze in April failed as Iran, wanting to boost oil exports that had been restrained by Western sanctions, refused to join and Saudi Arabia insisted all producers took part.

The August output figures in the report at least show no further large supply increases in top OPEC producers. As previously reported, Saudi Arabia told OPEC it reduced output by 40,000 bpd from July's record high of 10.67 million bpd.

Iran told OPEC it pumped 3.63 million bpd, steady from July's 3.62 million bpd, a slowdown in the rate of growth earlier in the year after the lifting of sanctions in January.

The OPEC report stopped short of predicting when supply and demand would rebalance, although it said signs of higher-than-expected demand in some big consumers would contribute to "a reduction in the imbalance of market fundamentals" in coming months". At the start of 2016, OPEC expected the rebalancing to happen this year.

With demand for OPEC crude in 2017 expected to average 32.48 million bpd, the report indicates there will be an average surplus of 760,000 bpd if OPEC keeps output steady. Last month's report pointed to a small, 100,000 bpd surplus.

In the report, OPEC made no change to the global demand outlook, predicting demand growth of 1.15 million bpd in 2017.

(Editing by Susan Thomas)
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