Oil blockades cost Libya $ 130 billion, says finance minister

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Frequent oil blockades in Libya in recent years have cost the country a total of $ 130 billion in lost revenue, Finance Minister Faraj Boumtari told Al-Jazeera on Thursday.

The Libyan oil industry has been plagued by intermittent blockages as rival factions fight for control of areas in Libya and its oil terminals and ports since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The most recent blockade in Libya, between January and mid-September, cost Libya nearly US $ 10 billion, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said, describing it as “a devastating loss especially during this period of time. national crisis ”.

The head of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, whose troops, with the help of affiliated groups, had blocked Libyan oil ports in January, announced the end of the blockade on September 18.

The NOC has started to gradually lift force majeure on some oil terminals and oilfields, and Libya’s crude oil production has increased over the past month, from less than 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) before the blockade was only raised to 500,000 bpd last week.

Earlier this month, NOC announced it had lifted force majeure on Libya’s largest oilfield, Sharara, which has the capacity to produce more than 300,000 bpd. Last week, Sharara was pumping around 100,000 bpd and further increased production to around 150,000 bpd earlier this week, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The return of Libyan oil to the market has weighed on oil prices in recent weeks, and even the OPEC + group is closely monitoring the increase in the country’s supply. Libya is exempt from production cuts and could derail the alliance’s efforts to support oil prices and plans to ease ongoing cuts by an additional 2 million bpd from January.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for OilUSD

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