June 1 (Reuters) - Shokri Ghanem, chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the OPEC country’s top oil official, defected in Rome on Wednesday citing daily bloodshed as rebels fight troops still loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
Here are some facts about him:
* Ghanem, 68, had the high-profile job of representing Libya at OPEC meetings. He has been NOC chairman since 2006.
* Ghanem was born in Tripoli in October 1942. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Libya at Benghazi in 1963 and worked in government for the next 14 years, including at the NOC and at the oil ministry.
* During this period, he also studied at Boston University at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, gaining master’s degrees in economics and in law and diplomacy before gaining a doctorate in international economics in 1975.
* He then served as chief economist and director of energy studies at the Arab Development Institute in Libya while holding various academic positions in Libya and Britain.
* From 1993 to 2001, Ghanem was director of research at the OPEC secretariat in Vienna, standing in for the secretary general at times.
* In 2001, Ghanem returned to Libya to serve as minister of economy and trade.
* In June 2003 the reform-minded Ghanem was named prime minister. He was credited with liberalising the Libyan economy and accelerating the opening of the country to international petroleum investment.
* In March 2006, Ghanem was appointed chairman of the National Oil Corporation, giving him control over oil policy.
* In 2009, reports emerged that he had resigned as part of a turf war between reformers and a conservative old guard inside Libya’s ruling elite. But weeks later, he was back at his post. “Reinstated, and no other comment,” he told Reuters. No reason was given for his brief departure. There was relief among foreign investors at the return of a Western-friendly face at the head of NOC.
* Arab television stations said on at least two occasions after the revolt against Gaddafi’s rule in Libya started in February that Ghanem had left the country, but he denied the reports, saying he was was still at work.
* In a March 2 interview with Reuters in Tripoli, Ghanem declined to comment on the defections of Libyan diplomats and other officials. But he did say oil industry officials had not departed and that he had no plans to leave. “You see me. I am in my office. I am still coordinating the industry,” he said.
* Ghanem whose whereabouts was unknown for several days, appeared in Rome on June 1 to announce his defection.
Sources: Reuters/www.arabianoilandgas (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Jason Neely)