OPEC-member Libya still in turmoil, EU report finds

Progress in Libya since the end of Gadhafi's reign six years ago "may remain limited."
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 2, 2017 at 5:54 AM
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Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A European memo on the status of stability in OPEC-member Libya warns that progress in the war-torn country may be limited.

The EUobserver reported Monday it obtained access to a "restricted" report from the European Union's Border Assistance Mission in Libya that describes lingering fractures remaining in Libya six years after civil conflict led to the death of long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

"Sustainable progress may remain limited in the absence of a political solution, an end to the military conflict and a return to stability," the 21-page document read.

Last month, the mandate for the U.N. Support Mission in Libya was extended for another year. In its resolution, the U.N. Security Council said all parties in Libya were encouraged to support reconciliation and political outreach. A final security arrangement, meanwhile, was identified as "a critical step towards tackling Libya's political, security, humanitarian, economic and institutional challenges."

The Libya Herald reported during the weekend that bodies of members of the Libyan National Army were discovered in a mass grave inside a building in Benghazi, a restive port city on the Mediterranean Sea.

Because of the oil revenue needed to address security concerns, Libya is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries exempt from an agreement to curb production in an effort to draw on the surplus for the five-year average of global crude oil inventories. The OPEC effort has faced internal pressures because of the exemption. Nigeria is also sidelined from the agreement, but said it could join the effort once its production stabilized at 1.8 million barrels of oil per day, an average level it last achieved in 2015.

According to the World Bank, revenue from oil won't be enough to cover budget expenses in Libya. The budget deficit for Libya is expected to be around 19 percent of its total gross domestic product.

Libyan oil production in August, the last full month for which OPEC has data, was 890,000 bpd, down about 11 percent from the previous month. The government in Tripoli said it's aiming to stabilize production at about 1 million bpd.

Libyan and Nigerian officials were invited to a late September meeting of a committee monitoring the OPEC-led agreement

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