The Libyan Oil Industry’s Story of Recovery – And What it Means for the Rest of Africa
If I called 2020 a terrible year for the oil industry, no one would take exception. Demand collapsed in the spring, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has yet to recover fully. Prices then collapsed in April as OPEC and Russia walked away from production curbs and flooded the market with crude that no one wanted or needed, and once again, they have yet to regain all of the ground they have lost.
There have been a few bright spots, though. One of those is Libya, which has managed to overcome some very daunting challenges. I’d like to tell you the story of how that happened.
Starting Near Rock Bottom
When the African Energy Chamber (AEC) started drawing up our 2021 Africa Energy Outlook, which was released on Nov. 10, Libya’s oil industry was still struggling in the face of persistent civil conflict.
At that time, the country was still producing less than 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude, down from more than 900,000 bpd at the start of 2020. Its refineries, pipelines, and Mediterranean export terminals were almost entirely idle because of the blockade mounted by the Libyan National Army (LNA), a militia headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, during a major offensive campaign that began in mid-January.
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