Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Libya's Oil Industry Is in Trouble

Businessweek: One of the most amazing things about the Libyan Revolution was just how quickly the country’s oil industry rebounded from the chaos and violence of 2011. After bottoming out at only 45,000 barrels a day in August that year after having fallen 97 percent since the previous January, Libya’s oil production was back near full capacity—1.6 million barrels a day, by last summer. That’s a huge success by any measure.
Now, nearly two years after the death of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya is backsliding into chaos. Striking workers angry about government corruption and low wages have attacked the engine of the country’s fragile economy: the export terminals and oil fields, many of them state-run, that hold Africa’s largest known crude reserves. To press their demands, roving militias have begun seizing and shutting down the terminals, leading to a precipitous drop in Libya’s precious oil exports, which account for practically all of the country’s gross domestic product. For more than two weeks, Libya’s exports have basically flatlined as all but one terminal have been shut-in...

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