Photographer: Shawn Baldwin/Bloomberg

Libya’s Central Bank Sends Warning About Slashed Oil Production

  • Unrest has cost the country over $160 billion in past 3 years
  • Bank says action must be taken to protect sole revenue source

Libya’s central bank said recent disruption had slashed production by around 350,000 barrels a day, while unrest and shutdowns over the past three years have cost the OPEC member more than $160 billion in direct and indirect losses.

Gross domestic product has fallen to 19 billion dinars ($13.9 billion) this year from 112 billion dinars in 2012, the bank said in a statement on its website on Tuesday. The continued shutdowns of pipelines will force the regulator to take additional measures that will affect spending, which it has been “exerting the utmost effort to avoid,” it said, without elaborating.

The current situation, “more than at any other time before, requires greater effort to protect the only source of income for Libyans,” the bank said.

Sharara, the country’s largest oilfield, has been closed for more than ten days while another, El Feel, was shut this week, after armed groups seized pipelines linking them to export terminals. Libya, which sits atop Africa’s largest proven crude reserves, has been mired in conflict since Moammar Al Qaddafi’s ouster in 2011 triggered years of fighting between rival governments and militias.

Before the recent disruptions, Libya had revived oil production to a four-year high, and exports were the most in three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country pumped 1.02 million barrels a day in July, compared with 1.6 million barrels a day before the 2011 revolt.

The central bank, like the National Oil Corp, has struggled to remain neutral in a political tug-of-war between dueling governments in the east and west of the country and feuding militias who wield tremendous power.

The Hamada oil field restarted production on Monday, according to a person familiar with the matter and who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

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