Blockade slashes Libya’s oil output by three quarters – NOC

CAIRO (southafricnews) – Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Saturday that oil production had dropped to 320,154 barrels per day (bpd) by Jan. 23, from 1.2 million bpd before a week-long blockade that has shut down ports and fields in eastern and southern Libya.

Financial losses caused by the blockade stood at $256.6 million as of Jan. 23, the NOC said in a statement. It has warned that oil production could drop as low as 72,000 bpd if the blockade continues.

The NOC said gas production stood at 50 million cubic feet per day, without reporting any output change, and that Zawiya refinery in western Libya was working normally and producing fuel for national consumption.

There was sufficient fuel storage in eastern and central regions, though storage facilities in the west and south were “suffering logistical difficulties as a result of the ongoing war,” the NOC said.

The blockade is part of a conflict between eastern based forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar, and rival forces aligned with the internationally recognised government in the capital, Tripoli.

The NOC has said the blockade was ordered by Haftar’s forces, though Haftar’s backers have sought to portray the stoppage as the result of popular pressure.

Haftar, who controls most of Libya’s oil fields and ports, has been waging a military offensive since April to take control of Tripoli.

He has received backing from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Russia, while his opponents are supported by Turkey.

Reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Mark Potter

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