Some Libyan cities have been suffering from a severe fuel shortage for several reasons, including the difficulty of transporting fuel via unsafe routes and smuggling it abroad, as well as the recent halt of oil production, which led to an exaggerated increase in its prices in the “black market.”
According to citizens from southern Libya and from Bani Walid city (northwestern Libya), their regions have been experiencing a severe shortage of fuel since February.
They said the state has been unable to provide them with fuel, leaving them victims to black market prices.
MP Ali al-Saeedi said the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) preoccupation with its counter-terrorism battle in the capital, Tripoli, has led to some imbalances in controlling the smuggling operations to the black market or abroad.
He said civilian and military forces are present in the southern cities “but are not sufficient to monitor tanks and smuggled cargo across the border and from the vast desert.”
Saeedi stressed that this matter requires more resources and mechanisms, noting that the government east Libya does not have money.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the justifications given by the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli are rejected, in reference to the statements saying that “closing the fields is the reason behind the lack of fuel and the increase in its prices.”
“Oil fields halted production from 2013 till 2016, yet fuel was available in all Libyan cities,” he stressed.
The MP pointed out that during the period before the war on Tripoli, “oil was smuggled to many countries by leaders of armed militias in Misrata and Zawiya,” western Libya.
The NOC has called on citizens to be prepared to face a possible fuel shortage in the coming days, due to the “illegal closure of oil installations.”
According to some parties in eastern Libya, these warnings aim at inciting Libyans against the tribes and the LNA and putting pressure to reopen the ports to start operating.