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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.