CAIRO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th January, 2020) The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that the possible shutdown of oil terminals would have far-reaching negative consequences for the national economy.
On Thursday, some Libyan tribal leaders and public figures called for shutting down oil terminals in a protest against what they describe as the UN-backed Government of National Accord's (GNA) payments for foreign military support using oil revenues. On Friday, Libyan media reported that the protesters had entered the oil port of Zueitina in the eastern part of the country, but the terminal had not been closed.
"Shutting down oil exports and production will have far-reaching and predictable consequences. If the shutdown is prolonged, we face collapse of the exchange rate, a huge and unsustainable increase in the national deficit, the departure of foreign contractors, and the loss of future production which may take years to restore. The main beneficiaries of this act will be other oil-producing states, and the harm will be entirely to Libyans. This is like setting fire to your own house," NOC said in a statement on late Friday.
Libya has been living through a severe political crisis since a coup in 2011 that toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi. Two rival administrations have since practically split the oil-rich country, with the Libyan National Army (LNA) controlling the east and the GNA controlling the west.
The situation has escalated over the past several weeks as LNA commander Khalifa Haftar ordered his troops to advance on the GNA-held capital of Tripoli. The LNA and the GNA, which is getting military support from Turkey, will take part in the upcoming peace conference in Berlin on Sunday.