Amid fighting near the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the risk of oil-supply outages from the OPEC member remains high. The country has been in disarray since Muammar Qaddafi was ousted as head of state and killed in 2011. Oil output has surged in 2019, but continuing battles are a reminder that reliable crude flows require a political solution to end eight years of strife.
Warlord Khalifa Haftar, who controls the east and south of the country, has used control over oil ports to exert political pressure on the United Nations-backed, internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. His self-styled Libyan National Army, supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, mounted a surprise assault on Tripoli in early April to purge what he called terrorist groups. Lethal clashes including air strikes prompted appeals by U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the European Union to halt the offensive. Haftar has more recently soothed oil markets by promising that Libya’s National Oil Corp., or NOC, has the “exclusive” right to export the county’s crude.