Libya’s oil output cannot even cover its own needs, the National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Monday, as the country struggles with fighting and protests that have hampered production since the 2011 ouster of leader Muammar Gaddafi. Fighting already affecting two major oil-exporting ports in the east of the country has spread west close to the port of Mellitah, operated by a joint venture between the NOC and Italy’s ENI, the state-run NOC said.
“Crude production of the state of Libya has fallen to very low levels which will not meet local demand,” it said, without providing an output figure. OPEC member Libya produced about 1.65 million barrels of crude oil a day the year before Gaddafi’s ouster, consuming about 330,000 per day domestically, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Mellitah “NOC is worried about the events happening at the Mellitah oil and gas port,” it said in a statement.
A spokesman said the port remained open but declined to comment further. The eastern ports Es Sider and Ras Lanuf stopped working more than a week ago due to nearby clashes, slashing Libya’s oil output by at least 300,000 barrels a day and prompting the NOC to declare force majeure. A group called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli in August, forcing Libya’s internationally recognised government under Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni to relocate to the east. Fighting between supporters of the two sides is part of a wider struggle for control of the North African country as rebel groups which helped topple Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising now fight each other.