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The Afterparty Rages On
Libyan Oil Exports Threaten to Dry Up

Libya has been hitting all kinds of oil milestones lately, though not the kind you’d want to boast about. After seeing its production drop from a substantial 1.4 million barrels of oil per day two years ago to under 200,000, its exports may completely dry up in the coming days for the first time since the 2011 civil war. The FT reports:

Overnight, Libya’s national oil company said it could be forced to divert crude from two offshore fields to meet domestic requirements.

“The likelihood that exports out of the country will cease in coming days is increasing as domestic requirements at the 120,000 b/d Zawiya refinery [in the west of the country] may absorb the only remaining crude production currently available for export,” said Vienna-based consultants JBC Energy.

The Libyan afterparty is an ugly mess. Diverting what little remains of Libyan oil production for domestic use may keep things running in the short-term, but the government’s budget relies heavily on oil and gas revenues, making any pause in exports a threat to the already shaky legitimacy of the current regime. When the American media affords attention to the North African country, it tends to focus on the tragic events in Benghazi, when a much deeper failure is on display daily as the country circles the drain—namely, America’s decision to intervene in 2011.

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