Now that they’ve taken control of some critical oil fields and terminals, eastern Libya’s rebels are getting into the oil business. Qatar is rumored to be the first buyer, with a deal in place to buy the oil and ship it in leased tankers, the New York Times reports. Though there are sanctions on Libya, the US says it won’t block rebel oil sales, provided none of the money goes to the Libyan government.
Rebels will only be able to produce about a tenth of the oil pre-War Libya put out, but they’ll also be able to sell off the millions of barrels stockpiled in the terminals they’ve taken, a cash injection that could help buy weapons and supplies. “My guess is this will be more consequential for the conflict than for the oil markets,” says one Council on Foreign Relations fellow. But the markets have taken notice; in the US, crude fell 1.4% yesterday after news of the rebel advance. (Read more oil stories.)