Libya says oil shutdown losses close to $2.6 billion

(FILE) - Libyan fighters in front of the Ras Lanuf oil company, Ras Lanuf, Eastern Libya. EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

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Economic fallout continues from a protracted blockade of Libya’s vital oil fields and ports, with losses close to $2.6 billion, the national oil corporation announced, intensifying the pressure on a U.N.-supported government in the capital.

Powerful tribes loyal to Libya’s eastern-based forces seized large export terminals and choked off major pipelines in January, aiming to starve the Tripoli-based government of crucial revenues.

The National Oil Corporation, which dominates Libya’s critical oil industry, said Tuesday the losses as of Monday were close to $2.6 billion since Jan. 17.

Libya’s oil and gas production have been consistently down since the shutdown of oil facilities, with daily production dropping to 123,240 barrels a day on Monday, the NOC said.

The corporation warned of “potential fuel shortage in the coming days,” and complained of lack of funding to import enough fuel.

Oil, the lifeline of Libya’s economy, has long been a key factor in the civil war, as rival authorities jostle for control of oil fields and state revenue.

The U.N. envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame announced his resignation on Monday, throwing U.N.-led efforts to end the conflict into further chaos.

Salame, 69, said he was stepping down on health grounds after he tried to “unify the Libyans, curb foreign interference and protect the country’s integrity” since his appointment in July 2017.

Read more via AP

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