News / Economy

Central Bank: Lost Oil Revenues Cost Libya $30B

Pipelines are seen at the Zueitina oil terminal in Zueitina, west of Benghazi April 7, 2014. Pipelines are seen at the Zueitina oil terminal in Zueitina, west of Benghazi April 7, 2014.
x
Pipelines are seen at the Zueitina oil terminal in Zueitina, west of Benghazi April 7, 2014.
Pipelines are seen at the Zueitina oil terminal in Zueitina, west of Benghazi April 7, 2014.
Reuters
— Libya has lost $30 billion due to 10 months of protests at oilfields and export terminals but has sufficient foreign currency reserves to keep the country running, a central bank official said.

A wave of protests at oil facilities has reduced the North African country's oil output to less than 200,000 barrels a day down from 1.4 million bpd in July before the strikes started.

The protests are part of wider turmoil in the North African country since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The government is unable to control militias and armed tribesmen who helped oust Gadhafi but now seize oilfields or state institutions at will to make political or financial demands.

“The damages the state has now suffered after more than 10 months, Libya has lost not less than $30 billion,” Musbah Alkari, director of the central bank's reserves department, told Reuters. Reserves are currently around $110 billion, down from around $130 billion last summer when protests started.

The situation could get worse in the next few days.

State oil firm National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Wednesday that it might be forced to use crude from its two offshore oilfields, so far unaffected by protests, to feed a domestic refinery. That could mean Libya stops exporting oil for the first time since 2011.

Alkari said Libya was currently earning around $1 billion each month in oil revenues, having brought in between $4 billion and $5 billion a month before the oil protests started.

Oil and gas exports are the only source of revenue for the country's $50 billion budget and to fund food purchases and other imports worth $30 billion, as Libya has no sizeable industrial production outside the oil sector.

“The reserves will [cover the budget and imports] for three and a half years ... [but] we want suitable solutions for these problems,” he said.

Alkari said there needed to be a political solution for the oil crisis but did not elaborate.

A rebel group in eastern Libya has seized several oil export ports to press for financial demands and regional autonomy.

The government signed an agreement in April with the rebels to reopen the ports but implementation has been slow due to mutual distrust. The rebels have refused to deal with the new premier Ahmed Maiteeq who was elected by parliament in a chaotic vote disputed by some lawmakers.

Alkari said the central bank had diversified its foreign currency reserves, which are split between cash, short-term deposits, foreign bonds and equity stakes in banks and insurers.

Discussing the bank's little-known investment strategy, he said it favored dollar bonds such as U.S. Treasuries as its oil is sold in dollars. It also holds sovereign or other highly rated bonds from European countries and stakes in companies including Italy's UniCredit, a Gulf lender and insurers.

“We have a good mix geographically and in terms of risks,” Alkari said. The bank still buys overseas assets sometimes “but less than before.”

“We receive $1 billion [a month] in this hand, but in the other hand we pay $3.6 billion so how can we invest new money?” Alkari said.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.