The head of Libya's National Oil Corporation made a rare appearance on Wednesday. Denouncing a lack of state investment, Mustafa Sanalla mentioned dilapidated networks that required regular servicing.
If Libya sits on the largest known oil reserves in Africa, it lacks the necessary installations to exploit the natural resource. The powerful head of Libya's National Oil Corporation decried a lack of state investment in the country's energy sector, on Wednesday. "The conditions were not ideal during the year 2020-2021, he started. The situation was critical and we did not obtain the necessary budgets for that year. We started the year 2021 with large debts reaching 2.953.941.000 Libyan dinars."
In a decade of violence since the 2011 revolt that overthrew and killed former leader Moamer Kadhafi, armed groups have frequently blockaded or damaged oil installations, and some have been destroyed. In 2021, Libya’s lifeline oil and gas exports managed to raise revenues of more than $21.5 billion in 2021, the highest level in five years.
However, a low budget coupled with political instability still keep Libya’s economy hostage. "The National Oil Corporation seeks to maintain production rates of 1.200.000 barrels. We've set a plan to increase these numbers if we are able to obtain funds, but without them, maintaining this number is considered an achievement in itself, because the fields' lines are worn and every day we stop them and we can carry out maintenance and repairs on equipment that is 60 years old."
Injecting money in Libya's energy sector seems vital since the country is heavily dependent on revenues from its oil and gas exports. The World Bank estimated in 2019 that oil rents amounted to 43% of Libya’s GPD.