Empty chair for Libya at OPEC meeting

June 8, 2011
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, VIENNA, June 8 – Libya will not attend the OPEC oil output meeting here on Wednesday, with an empty chair marking where the delegate was due to sit, AFP reporters observed.

A person close to the matter had revealed on Tuesday that Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi would be represented by Omran Abukraa, ex-head of the national electricity authority. However, he did not appear at the meeting.

Abukraa had been expected lead the Libyan delegation at a regular output meeting of oil ministers from the 12-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Last month, Libya\’s previous acting oil minister Shukri Ghanem resigned and left Libya to join the uprising against Kadhafi.

Ghanem, a veteran of the regime and formerly head of the state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC), had been Libya\’s representative for years.

OPEC ministers squared up on Wednesday for a critical decision on whether to raise oil output for the first time for almost four years to underpin the global economy and compensate for lost demand in Libya, which has been rocked by unrest.

Libya was producing 1.3 million barrels a day before the unrest but this has long since ground to a halt.

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