Libya’s oil output is down to less than 125,000 b/d, a drop of more than 90% since the Libyan National Army imposed a blockade on the country’s five export terminals on January 18, according to a tweet Wednesday by the state-run National Oil Corp.
The OPEC member’s production was down to 123,537 b/d on February 17, compared with 1.22 million b/d before the blockade, NOC said in a public information bulletin posted on Twitter. The total cumulative loss amounts to 29.4 million barrels, or $1.74 billion, the company said.
NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla has warned that output would plummet to just 72,000 b/d “very soon” if the LNA blockade continued. The self-styled LNA has been jostling for power with the UN-backed Government of National Accord.
NOC has declared force majeure on exports from five key export terminals that were shut by the LNA, which controls Libya’s oil and gas infrastructure but lacks control over the sale and distribution of revenue.
The LNA, which is backed by Russia and other countries, and the GNA, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and supported by Turkey, have clashed since April 2019, impacting the oil industry.
The LNA, led by General Khalifa Haftar, has been trying to take over Tripoli from the GNA. Haftar’s big ambition has been to gain access to Libya’s oil revenue, which currently goes to the country’s central bank in Tripoli under the jurisdiction of the GNA.
The last time the LNA held the key oil terminals hostage was in June 2018 when the shutdown lasted 16 days.
Libya has Africa’s largest proven reserves of oil and its crude is coveted because it is light and sweet.