News / Africa

    Minister: Libyan Oil Back in Days - Politics Permitting

    Libya's Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi speaks in Tripoli, July 31, 2013.
    Libya's Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi speaks in Tripoli, July 31, 2013.
    Reuters
    Libya's oil exports could return to full capacity in days once strikes in the restive east end, its oil minister said on Wednesday
     
    But demands for more local power from some protesters are tied to the political transition and may take time to resolve, Abdelbari Arusi added.
     
    To keep international oil companies on board through the turmoil, Arusi said Libya was already working on improving terms for existing investors and easing terms in new license rounds.
     
    “We're expecting to solve this issue any time and by solving this issue we can have oil production back to 1.6 million barrels per day,” he told a conference. “Our problem in Libya now is a political problem, not a technical problem.”
     
    A mix of striking workers, militias and political activists have blocked Libya's oilfields and ports for more than two months resulting, according to Arusi, in over $5 billion of lost revenues for the OPEC member whose budget relies on oil exports.
     
    Libya took its first steps towards resuming output from the west in mid-September after reaching a deal with locals.
     
    Arusi said a parliamentary committee was negotiating with groups in the east and only a small number of protesters were still holding out. Because it is the ports not the fields that are blocked in the east, he added, production could return to capacity in three to four days once disputes are settled.
     
    Talks to reopen the major oil export terminals of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf in the east have taken time because while some protesters are simply demanding better benefits, more local investment and more jobs, others have linked their demands to political wrangling over the future shape of Libya.
     
    Protesters in the east want a federal Libya with greater powers and the headquarters of the National Oil Company (NOC) transferred to Benghazi, the capital of the east and birthplace of the 2011 revolution that removed Muammar Gaddafi from power.
     
    Parliament is due to write a new constitution for the new Libya but different groups are pushing their own agendas. The government lacks the military means to crush armed protesters and in any case, Arusi said it was reluctant to use force as it sought to build a new democracy.
     
    “Some in Ajdabiya, Brega and Ras Lanuf are asking to form a federal system and if you like that then you have to put it in the constitution,” Arusi said. “We are working on the constitution.”
     
    Output inching up

    Growing instability since 2011 coupled with disruptions and, in some cases, disappointing finds have prompted some majors including ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell to freeze activities and smaller firms like Marathon are selling.
     
    Arusi said Libya was reviewing the terms for existing foreign investors in its energy sector as well as drawing up more attractive terms for its next licensing round, which he said should be launched in the first half of next year.
     
    A new petroleum law would also be ready next year, he added.
     
    “We're forming a committee to review the previous agreements and come up with new agreements to ease our terms and conditions and come up with something good for both parties,” Arusi said.
     
    Libya's crude oil output has risen to near 700,000 bpd since the western fields reopened last month, Arusi said.
     
    The worst disruption since the 2011 war had cut output to below 200,000 bpd last month from 1.4 million bpd before.
     
    Arusi said there were “positive signs” that the port of Hariga in the far east would re-open soon and oil officials have said there had been progress in talks with local councils there.
     
    In a sign that disruptions could pop up in different parts of the country, however, protesters in the west have shut a gas pumping station supplying a facility jointly run with Italy's ENI and reducing exports to Italy.
     
    Import flows into Italy on Tuesday were around 8.8 million cubic meters compared to shipper requests for 12.7 mcm, according to data from gas grid operator Snam.
     
    Arusi confirmed that gas flows from the Wafa field, the largest gas field in western Libya that feeds the Mellitah complex south of Tripoli, had been shut for two days and exports to Italy had been halved.
     
    “We have substituted gas from the offshore field of Bahr al-Salam and reduced our gas to Italy to compensate what we lost from the Wafa field,” he said, adding that the priority was to ensure enough domestic gas supplies before exporting.
     
    He expected gas supplies to be restored “today or tomorrow.”

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora