Renewed civil war in Libya threatens to disrupt oil and gas supplies, trigger more migration to Europe, and allow Islamist militants to exploit the chaos. Over the weekend the LNA launched airstrikes on the south of the Tripoli as it sought to advance into the centre from the disused airport.
On and off civil war, as well as more minor skirmishes involving pipelines and oil fields, has repeatedly disrupted Libya’s oil production and exports. For now, Libya’s main oil fields, pipelines and export terminals do not lie in the path of the fighting, although there is one major port nearby. “Oil operations have been largely normal but any sustained fighting could quickly bring Libya back below one million barrels a day.
The irony is that Libya’s oil sector has rebounded strongly over the past year, and the head of the National Oil Corp. has laid out ambitious goals of continuing to ratchet up output this year and in 2020. Last year, the LNA tried to block oil exports and take control of shipments. Also, just a few months ago Libya’s Sharara oil field – the country’s largest – went offline amid unrest.
Part of the Italian companies operating in the oil and gas sector and the field of engineering projects have left Tripoli as a result of the military clashes that broke out during the past few days in the outskirts of the capital. Some Italian companies are still operating within the country naturally, clarifying that the Italian business owners in Misurata and Benghazi are still running their businesses normally.