Christian Science Monitor
October 25, 2013
Militias in eastern Libya have seized control of key oil infrastructure, launched their own government, and created their own army in a bid to improve their bargaining position as they demand semi-autonomy from the central government in Tripoli.
Their actions have reduced oil production to about a third of its post-civil war high and prompted international oil companies to reconsider investments in Libya. The outlook is worsening as declining security erodes the central governmentâ€™s power and armed groups with their own agendas gain ground.
The disruption could be dire for Libya’s economy â€“ oil is the source of 95 percent of its export earnings and 95 percent of government revenue, according to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Seizure of facilities in the east alone has cost the government $6 billion in lost revenue since blockades began in July. For the last month, the country has been pumping about 600,000 barrels of oil a day, down from 1.4 million barrels a day at the beginning of 2013.