Russia is stepping up attempts to repair ties with Libya's new leadership and preserve its big investments in the country post-revolution by supplying it with much needed fuel.
Swiss-based trader Gunvor, co-owned by influential Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, confirmed on Wednesday it was supplying diesel to Libya for use in generating electricity to avert black-outs.
"Gunvor SA, the Geneva-based trading arm of Gunvor Group Ltd ... confirmed today that it has discharged a cargo of diesel for use in power generation in Libya, supplied to the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco)," the trading house said in a rare comment about its daily trading activities.
Some rebel officials have warned that Russia alongside China and Brazil may lose out with the new government due to their lack of support or even opposition to international sanctions and a NATO-led military campaign in Libya.
But some analysts, including political risk consultancy Stratfor, have suggested that decades of ties with Libya will help Moscow ultimately rebuild its positions.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week Moscow might establish formal relations with the rebels if they were able to "unite the country for a new democratic start".
Gunvor is one of the largest exporters of Russian oil and products, and Timchenko has become one of the most successful businessmen in Russia of the past decade by expanding his empire into gas, coal and banking.
Russia did not use its U.N. Security Council veto power in March to block military intervention, but Russian officials previously warned that NATO aerial support for the takeover of Tripoli could jeopardize the rebels' legitimacy.
Agoco, based in Benghazi, was part of National Oil Corporation (NOC) before civil war hit the country earlier this year.
The news release cited an Agoco spokesman in Benghazi as saying: "It was vital for us to avoid power blackouts, but because our funds were frozen and our crude production was stopped, we faced an extremely difficult situation."
The statement did not specify the price of the diesel or say whether any money transactions were associated with the cargo.
Trading sources told Reuters last week that Gunvor would supply a cargo loading at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk and bound for Benghazi.
The sources said the 30,000 tonne cargo was loaded aboard the tanker Norient Star, which was expected to reach the Libyan port on Aug. 31.
ReutersLast Mod: 31 Ağustos 2011, 14:22