Libyan oil production in steady decline since Arab spring

In 2016, Libya's oil production dropped to 400,000 barrels per day, while before the 2011 uprising it was around 1.5 million barrels per day.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

DAESH attack on Ras Lanuf oil terminal in January 2016.

Updated Jun 16, 2016

There has been a sharp decline in Libya's oil output since 2011, mainly attributed to a series of interruptions caused by ongoing fighting at various sites across the country.

Libyan oil production has dropped to around 400,000 barrels per day (BPD), according to a March 2016 report by the energy reporting service Platts, which quoted the head of the Tripoli-based National Oil Company (NOC). 

Before the conflict erupted in Libya in 2011, the country was producing more than 1.65 million barrels of oil per day. 

Libya, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has the largest oil reserves in Africa and the 9th largest proven oil reserves in the world. 

Almost 80 percent of the country’s recoverable oil reserves are located in the Sirte basin, where DAESH has been fighting to establish a stronghold.

Some oil terminals are controlled by rebels, while others are under the supervision of either the Tobruk-based government in eastern Libya or the rival Tripoli-based government in the west. 

In January, the DAESH terrorist group attempted to wrest control of the ports of Sidra and Ras Lanuf, two of the country's largest oil terminals. Together, the ports are capable of processing 640,000 barrels of oil per day worth more than $23m.

In April this year four Libyan oilfields in Marada were shut down and evacuated due to fears that the DAESH terrorist group might attack them.

Marada, located in northeastern Libya, is 800 kilometres (500 miles) south-east of the capital Tripoli.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) is an armed group that defends the Sidra and Ras Lanuf ports against DAESH attacks. 

Clashes are still ongoing.

Libya's National Oil Company

The Tripoli-based National Oil Company (NOC) is the only legitimate seller of Libyan oil, according to Libyan law which is enforced by the UN. 

However, the Tobruk-based government has set up its own NOC to operate parallel to the Tripoli-based NOC.

In effect, two oil companies under the same name are now running the oil industry in Libya.

Since 2014, Libya has been engulfed a civil war which has resulted in a political crisis involving two rival authorities – the General National Congress (GNC) and the House of Representatives (HoR) – which control the west and east of the country respectively. 

On April 3, 2016, Libya’s Tripoli-based NOC pledged to work with the new UN-backed government, the Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA was formed in January following a UN-brokered deal signed in December 2015 by the two rival governments, although it has not been fully endorsed yet by either. 

On May 31, French oil company Technip signed a deal worth $500 million with the Tripoli-based NOC to refurbish an offshore oil platform.

The platform is for the Bahr Essalam oil field about 100 kilometres off the coast of Tripoli.

According to local field workers, all expatriate staff have been removed from oil sites.

Operations are run by Libyans in collaboration with the two governments.

Author: Nebras Ibrahim

TRTWorld and agencies