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06.02.2020 Libya

Libya says almost $1 bn lost in oil blockade

.  By Abdullah DOMA (AFP/File)
LISTEN FEB 6, 2020
. By Abdullah DOMA (AFP/File)

Libya has lost almost one billion dollars in revenues since a blockade of its most vital oil export facilities led to a slump in production, the National Oil Company said Wednesday.

Groups allied to military strongman Khalifa Haftar launched their blockade of eastern Libya's main oil terminals on January 18.

Production has since declined from "more than 1.2 million to 187,000 barrels a day", a fall of more than 80 percent, according to the NOC website.

The blockade started the day before an international summit in Berlin that called for an end to foreign interference in Libya's conflict and a resumption of peace efforts.

The ensuing cuts in production due to storage capacity problems has caused "losses estimated at $931 million", the NOC said.

Exports were suspended at the ports of Brega, Ras Lanouf, Al-Sidra, Al-Hariga and Zweitina in the country's "oil crescent", the conduit for the majority of Libya's crude exports.

The NOC had previously condemned the closure of valves at a pumping station in the southwest that shut down production at the major fields of Al-Sharara and Al-Fil.

The blockade of the country's main source of revenues was decided in protest at Turkey's despatch of troops to shore up Haftar's rivals.

Turkey has backed the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, while Haftar has support from Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with rival administrations and militias vying for power.

The conflict deepened last April when Haftar, whose forces control much of Libya's south and east, launched an assault to seize Tripoli.

The embassies of the US and Britain as well as the EU delegation in Libya called for a resumption of NOC operations, warning of the risks of exacerbating the humanitarian hardships facing the country.

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