Libya Is Working With Rebels to Protect Tripoli’s Oil

A Libyan oil worker works at a refinery inside the Brega oil complex in eastern Libya, on April 6, 2014.

Hussein Malla/AP

AA Font size + Print

A Libyan oil worker works at a refinery inside the Brega oil complex in eastern Libya, on April 6, 2014.

And in an odd but very profitable move, they're only putting a little bit on the market at a time. By Steve LeVine

Oil prices declined again today as Libya said it is poised to resume crude exports after a deal struck last week between a local rebels and Tripoli. The country has millions of barrels cooped up in storage awaiting shipment, but to prevent a freefall of prices, Libya will only let out the oil gingerly.

Libyan officials give widely varying estimates of how much oil is stored in Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the two ports from which the oil will be shipped. Some officials say it is 3 to 4 million barrels (paywall), while others put the number at around 7.5 million, and still others estimate as much as 10 million (paywall).

Whatever the case, there is a lot of oil—enough to trigger a serious price collapse if traders see signs of a fast release. That’s why it will be released slowly, said a spokesman for the state-owned National Oil Company, Mohamed el-Harari. Already, global oil prices have dropped about $5 a barrel on the news of an imminent resumption in Libyan oil, to $110.64 today for internationally traded Brent crude—and petro-states (including Libya) would like to keep the price from dropping further.

Normally the two ports ship 560,000 barrels a day, about 40% of the country’s 1.3 million barrels a day of export capacity. Harari did not say when the shipments would resume. In all, some 3.5 million barrels a day of global oil capacity is off the market because of local politics in places such as Libya, and quite a bit of it is about to come back on line.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.