A Libyan official representing Muammar Gaddafi’s government is attending a meeting of OPEC’s governing board in Vienna this week, OPEC delegates said on Tuesday.
Ghanem, who in his capacity as the NOC’s chief serves as Libya’s oil minister, had left for Tunisia on May 16, in a move several of his close Libyan colleagues described as a defection.
“Shukri Ghanem will be representing (Libya) as the minister of oil” at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ June 8 meeting in Vienna, Khaled Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, told The Associated Press.
Ghanem’s apparent defection raised questions about who would represent Libya at the 12-nation producer group’s meeting. Officials in the rebel held east had expressed an interest in attending the meeting, but OPEC has made no public comments about who would be allowed to represent Libya.
Libya, an OPEC member country, exported 1.49 million barrels of oil per day, largely to Europe (85 percent), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), but production dropped considerably since the armed rebellion began in mid-February.