Power Plant Sabotage Threatens Libyan Oil Gains

Libya’s crude output is the highest for three years, but the government says it may declare force majeure at two oil terminals, while state power company GECOL has warned of an imminent nationwide power blackout.

The welcome news that Libya’s oil production has surpassed 700,000 b/d has been tempered by a warning from the state electricity company that the country could be on the verge of a total blackout, and by a government statement saying that its efforts to combat smuggling may result in a declaration of force majeure on two ports.

Crude output has hit a three-year high of 708,000 b/d according to a statement by Mustafa Sanalla, head of state oil firm National Oil Corporation (NOC), on 8 January. Output was up to 685,000 b/d at the beginning of the month ( MEES, 6 January ), from 622,000 b/d on 26 December and average December output of about 600,000 b/d. NOC plans to increase output to around 850,000 b/d by early February and more than 950,000 b/d by the end of March. Ongoing instability in the country means that these targets will be hard to achieve, and the sustainability of current production remains fragile. (CONTINUED - 1065 WORDS)