Production drops to 135,745bpd
On 17 February, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that oil production had dropped to 135,745bd due to the ongoing oil blockade, with cumulative losses at 1.617 billion USD. This comes after the NOC said on 13 February that crude oil storage at Zueitina oil terminal is full, resulting in the shutdown of the Waha-operated Farigh field and the loss of around 100 million cubic feet of gas per day. The NOC stressed that fuel supplies to the eastern and central regions remain sufficient, although the southern and Tripoli regions still face supply shortages due to the poor security situations.
The availability of fuel and electricity is likely to decrease further over the coming weeks as a result of gas fields connected to Zueitina going offline and Zawiyya refinery remaining offline. Despite efforts by the NOC to distribute fuel as fairly as it can across the country and despite it not being responsible for the blockade, it is likely that efforts by those in the East who oppose the NOC (namely the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the parallel eastern institutions) and see it as aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) and therefore with Turkey and ‘terrorists’ will seek to use the situation to undermine and attack the NOC. As such, although the logical conclusions of worsening fuel and power shortages in the East would seem to be a dwindling of support in the region for the oil blockade, it may be that the combination of a targeted anti-NOC narrative and the polarised nature of Libyan society means that easterners are convinced that these shortages are yet another example of why the oil blockade is necessary for Libya’s long term stability and security.