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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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
0.9220
JPY
USD
119.88
GBP
USD
0.6757
CAD
USD
1.2640
INR
USD
62.626

Rates may not be current.