Libya, the black sheep of OPEC?
Libya today constitutes one of the most representative cases when it comes to watch and analyze oil and gas industry under the light of political and security risks. Ever since war and revolution erupted in the country with the intervention of NATO and France that led to the ousting and killing of former libyan leader Gaddafi, instability and chaos has reigned in the country and a fierce clash between different militias and armed private groups have surfaced with the control of the different oil and gas facilities as the main goal of these organizations wanting each one to have their share of the diminishing and declining oil production in the north african country, once in an overall situation of stability under the rule of Gaddafi and now under the threat of total destabilization and balkanization, with no effective unified government but 2 split authorities, between secularism and islamism each one located in the cities of Tripoli and Tobruk. And all this fighting hitting very hard and importantly its one and main source of incomes, its oil production, located at less than 1 million barrels per day.
And dealing with political and security risks regarding the oil industry directly, is linked with the consistent and repeated attacks by the different rebel and warring factions against ports, tanks, sabotaging pipelines, which undoubtedly will be increased now with the insertion in the “libyan landscape” of ISIS, which also aims at controlling the most vital and strategic oil facilities like the Es Sider Port and also the Ras Lanuf pipeline, adding up to the already damaged and destroyed libyan landscape, lacking so far a general consensus between the islamist different factions under the umbrella of Dawn and the support allegedly of Qatar and Turkey, also having the Ansar al Sharia, against the non jihadist groups like the Shield organization and the so called Petrolem Facilities Guard, being the main active groups in this mortal fight, and with ISIS also asserting itself in one of the most prominent oil city, like Sirtre, adding more pressure to all this worsening scenario.
Hence, this is what happens when oil business is affected by myriads and diverse political and security risks and applied to many other global hotspots like Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, etc, but which is not impacting heavily oil prices since even if libyan crude oil is of high quality, low sulphur, and sweet and very demanded in Europe, but which it has not reached high levels of oil production historically even under times of Muammar Gaddafi. Terrorism, sabotaging oil and gas facilities, kidnapping and killing sometimes of oil personnel in offshore and onshore facilities, are the most recurrent incidents regarding political and security risks right now in Libya and is scaring away investments and the remaining companies still operating in the country.
So, with the perspective of another NATO intervention to root out ISIS off Libya in scenario provoked by the very initial intervention of the US NATO France alliance to topple Gaddafi, after many failed attempts of reaching a consensus on a unity government between the different warring groups, which is now endangering the intentions of the West to intervene once again in the country, then the stakes of growing political risks looks pretty much higher for Libya and its future in the global oil landscape, with important implications for the rest of foreign powers.
But surprisingly, political risks aside, Libya now became some sort of the black sheep in OPEC and oil markets, pumping close to 1 million barrels per day, along with other troubled nation Nigeria, and altogether being blamed for the current glut and the low oil prices. Apparently, political and geopolitical risks and this one specifically related to Libya is not sufficiently affecting oil prices.