Persistent refinery outages and insufficient capacity in North Africa have combined with growing consumption to increase import demand, especially for gasoline, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). In contrast, the IEA’s latest monthly Oil Market Report, published on 11 July, observes that the Middle East is one of the main drivers of an anticipated 2013 third quarter global surge in refinery throughputs.

With domestic market conditions getting ever tougher for Southern Europe’s refiners, Italian refineries have been exporting more gasoline to North Africa. During 2008-10 Libyan refineries processed an average 350,000 b/d of crude oil, the IEA says. However, since the onset of the civil war Libya crude throughputs have been averaging about 110,000 b/d, while gasoline imports from Italy have been increasing by an average of more than 30,000 b/d. (CONTINUED - 644 WORDS)