By Matthew Gayle.
Speaking at joint conference with the Prime Minister, Abdulbari Al-Araousi, the Libyan Minister of Oil, warned that Libyan oil exports could be drastically reduced or stopped altogether if blockades of oil port were not ended soon.
Minister Al-Arousi added that the situation is no longer tolerable and something needs to be done about the closure of oil terminals by armed groups.“The armed groups have closed most oil terminals and that could soon lead to a disaster,” al-Arousi told reporters in Tripoli.
According to The Tripoli Post, in one closed oil terminal, the armed group demanded that 1500 workers that live nearby should be hired by the facility.
When asked whether his warning meant that gas stations could be affected by the situation, al-Arousi explained that gas stations will not be affected by the situation because the Zawia refinery is fully functional, and can meet the fuel needs of all regions in western and southern Libya on its own.
The Zawia refinery is not only important for oil exports leaving Libya, but also because the country's fuel imports use the refinery’s terminal.
Al-Arousi complained about the lack of security of strategic oil facilities saying that the force that is authorized to protect oil facilities, Oil Facilities Guard, has 20,000 members on the payroll that do not report for their duties. “Five people could close the huge Zawia refinery which supposedly has up to 2000 guards,” al-Arousi said.
Al-Arousi downplayed accusations by a member of the General National Congress that Libyan oil is being stolen and sold at oil terminals, and explained that the ministry of oil has filed a court suit against the claims which accused him of being personally involved in a scheme of this sort.
(Source: The Tripoli Post)