Libya’s oil output will collapse within days to the lowest level since 2011, said National Oil Corporation's (NOC) Chairman Mustafa Sanallah as a blockade of its export terminals has forced a rapid shutdown of production and electricity blackouts in parts of the country.
Sanallah told The Financial Times that the country’s output had already plummeted from 1.3 million barrels a day to just 400,000 started the blockade on Friday, adding that production was now expected to fall to as little as 72,000 bpd within days or at most, weeks.
“Every day the situation is getting worse. These blockades are illegal, criminal actions. It needs to be resolved quickly as the longer we stay offline the more difficult it is to restore production at older fields.” Sanallah added.
He added that most of Libya’s oil is onshore and with limited storage capacity and no export routes, production will have to be cut, saying with no resolution to the blockade in sight, the crisis risked eroding the country’s cash reserves and exacerbating the refugee crisis in Europe, encouraging more people to risk the treacherous journey from Libya across the Mediterranean Sea.
Sanallah said Libya’s ambitions of raising its oil production to 1.5 million bpd this year and 2.5 million bpd later this decade were in serious jeopardy.
The NOC welcomed the calls of the US, UK calls to resume oil production, saying this could only happen by ending the illegal blockade of oil exports that damage the national economy.