AFRICANGLOBE – Libya has lost over $7 billion in oil exports due to seizures of oil fields and strike actions, with growing competition from oil-rich Nigeria and Algeria threatening to further reduce export revenues in the coming months.
The information was revealed by the country’s Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi, who confirmed the forceful takeover of oil ports and fields by workers as well as tribesmen and militia, seeking greater political inclusion.
According to Egyptian news service AhramOnline, the oil producing nation has struggled to control militia groups that helped oust late Muammar Gaddafi from power. These groups, still in possession of arms, have turned against the government, claiming acts of marginalization, and have taken control of several oil fields, causing production and exports alike to plummet.
Arusi noted that oil production fell from 1.4 million bpd in July to a current 250,000 bpd, an 82 percent drop that has cost the North Africa country $7 billion in revenues.
Libya export revenue hasn’t only been affected by domestic crisis. The Midditteranean market, its largest export area, has seen a growth in competition from other African producers including Nigeria and Algeria, whom are both keen on expanding their market in the face of dwindling revenues.
“We are facing a big problem because oil from Algeria and oil from Nigeria has entered the Mediterranean (market),” Arusi told al-Naba television station. “We have started looking for new markets in East Asia to offset the loss.”
The strike has hampered the country’s bid to develop its 2014 budget, and could further derail economic activities if not promptly averted.
By: Ehidiamhen Okpamen