In Libya, Oil Exports Risk Paralysis


Libya is in the grip of growing tensions between the political actors fighting over the country. Oil infrastructures are used as leverage by regional actors. As a result, production has fallen by almost half since the oil blockades began in May.

Libya in a serious political crisis

Libya holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa. In addition, its main light crudes, Sharara and Es Sider, yield a large quantity of middle distillates and gasoline. This makes the country very popular with refineries in the Mediterranean region and North West Europe.

Libya’s oil industry, however, has been at the mercy of groups vying for control since the 2011 civil war. Attacks on key pipelines and production facilities occur regularly. In addition, relations between the GNU and the GNS have deteriorated in recent months.

An agreement was not reached at the UN-sponsored talks on June 19. Hence, there is little hope for progress between the two rival governments in the coming sessions. Meanwhile, General Khalifa Haftar is interrupting oil supplies for political leverage.

The NOC sounds the alarm

In Libya, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) is about to declare force majeure on oil exports from its main oil terminals in the east of the country. Today, half of Libya’s oil production is currently out of service. Exports from the Es Sider, Marsa el-Hariga and Sarir terminals have been severely disrupted in recent weeks.

The Gulf of Sirte is crucial to Libya’s energy exports. It includes four main oil export terminals with a total capacity of 630,000 barrels per day.

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