Libya’s increasingly volatile politics may eventually overwhelm the country’s fragile oil recovery as its two competing parliaments square up over control of oil infrastructure.

With security concerns forcing Libya’s elected parliament to relocate in the small eastern city of Tobruk, its Tripoli-based rival, the General National Congress (GNC) is becoming increasingly powerful.

While National Oil Company (NOC) senior officials remain loyal to the elected House of Representatives (HoR), videos recently posted on social media appear to show that the GNC are in control of the buildings that house the NOC and the oil ministry’s offices.

This could mark the beginning of a more extensive loss of control.

Isolated in the East, the House of Representatives already has restricted influence on what happens in the rest of the country. It also commands a relatively small military force compared to the GNC.

Analysts are warning that loss of control of the buildings in Tripoli could further erode the House of Representatives’ ability to manage the country’s oil sector, and this may impact routine operations.

Already the oil sector faces significant obstacles. Protests are disrupting operations at the 200,000 b/d terminal of Ras Lanuf and the 130,000 b/d port of Mellitah, while ongoing fighting recently caused disruption at the 300,000 b/d Sharara oil field.

If the House of Representatives is increasingly detached from the mechanisms that control the country’s oil sector these disruptions, and others like them, are likely to continue unchecked.

Another possible scenario is that the rivalry could disintegrate into an armed conflict over oil infrastructure.

Either way, ramping up production over coming months is likely to prove difficult to achieve.