Libya takes a hit: $7 billion lost oil strikes
Post-Gaddafi nation has Nigeria and Algeria as new oil competitors
The North African nation of Libya is struggling to find a foothold in the world economy after the violent departure of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The country has lost more than $7 billion in oil strikes. Furthermore, Libya is facing new competition from Algeria and Nigeria in oil markets.
The domestic oil supply in Libya has become scarce with many oilfields remaining under the control of militias.
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's government is struggling to control dozens of former militias which helped oust Gaddafi two years ago but have since refused to relinquish their arms.
Libya had lost approximately $7.29 billion in oil revenues after output had fallen to 250,000 barrels a day from 1.4 million last July.
Arusi didn't say how much Libya is exporting. His deputy told Reuters last week that up to 50 percent of output was being used to keep the 120,000 barrels per day Zawiya refinery running.
"We are facing a big problem because oil from Algeria and oil from Nigeria has entered the Mediterranean (market)," Arusi told TV reporters. "We have started looking for new markets in east Asia to offset the loss."
In addition, Arusi said the government was having trouble drafting a 2014 budget due to the drop in production from 1.4 million barrels per day in July to 250,000 barrels per day now.
"We have a problem now. How are we supposed to prepare the budget?" he asked. Initial planning had assumed output of around 1.3 million barrels per day.
Only the El-Feel field, offshore operations and fields belonging to state-owned Sirte Oil Co in central Libya were still producing oil.
The sudden halt in production had also damaged pipelines and other oil facilities, while some oil staff were in bad shape psychologically due to the strikes. "We are talking here about many cases, not just one" he said.
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