When Will Libya’s Oil Ports Reopen?

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The Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Adel Jumaa, confirmed that the committee charged with handling the oil closures file has taken steps in reopening the fields.

During a press conference, Jumaa added that the Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohamed Aoun, handed over a report to the Prime Minister, Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba. In this report he confirmed that the committee, charged with dealing with the issue of closures, is in continuous coordination.

Jumaa commented on the budget of the National Oil Corporation (NOC), pointing out that the Ministry of Planning issued a mandate and referred it to the Ministry of Finance for implementation. It amounted to 3.956 billion Libyan dinars, representing the first quarter of the NOC’s budget that was approved.

In his report, Aoun added that this includes addressing the conditions of 9,000 workers in the oil sector. The increase in workers was determined by the decision of the Cabinet. The increase represents 67 % of those included in the NOC’s plan in addition to the development and operational program as well as previous commitments.

Earlier, Aoun said that Libya is losing more than $60 million a day due to the closure of a number of oil fields.

Oil production has faced a wave of forced closures of a number of oil facilities, which prompted the NOC to declare force majeure and suspend the work of two important ports in the East. It also closed six fields in the South and East of the country.

As a result, “production has decreased by about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd),” or half of the daily production out of 1.2 million bpd, Aoun told the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Calculating an average selling price of $100 per barrel, losses are at least $60 million per day,” the Libyan Minister confirmed.

Aoun expressed his regret regarding the closures affecting the oil infrastructure, as well as their impact on “Libya’s reputation and loss of confidence in its position in the international market.”

“When we deliver a certain quantity to a customer, and the next day we are not able to do so for one reason or another, this makes Libya loose its position in the global market.”

The Libyan Minister believes that the oil sector has been affected by the political division. He stressed that those behind these closures are “protesters demanding development and a fair distribution of oil revenues.”

He added that, “they say that they have specific demands for development in their areas and the construction of roads (…), there is no country in the world that distributes the income of wealth, but the citizen requests comprehensive development.”

“They should not use oil to blackmail the state. It is something we do not support at all,” he said.

Aoun confirmed that his Ministry formed a committee to communicate with the actors in the areas that have been closed. He expressed his hope that a “solution” will be reached soon.

The closure caused financial losses estimated at about $10 billion.

Aoun said that “Libya is a country rich in natural resources such as gold, uranium, solar energy and wind. He called for reducing dependence on fossil fuels and contributing to reducing emissions that affect the climate.”