Huge Cut in Libya Oil Output

Huge Cut in Libya Oil OutputHuge Cut in Libya Oil Output

Libya's oil production has dropped to 300,000 barrels per day, less than a quarter of what it produced before the 2011 fall of former autocrat Muammar Gaddafi, mostly because of insecurity and closed pipelines, a top official said.

Naji Moghrab, the top state oil official with the UN-backed government, told a local television channel that output was at 300,000 bpd because of fighting between various armed factions and the closure of 50,000 kilometers of oil pipeline, Reuters reported.

The North African state is caught in a conflict between two rival governments. Following the government split, Libya now has two rival state oil companies as well. One is with the UN-backed government and one with the government based in Tripoli, yielding often conflicting accounts of who controls what oil assets.

"The main problem behind the low production is insecurity and of course the presence of the Islamic State militants near the oilfields," Moghrab said. Fighters allied with IS extremists attacked forces guarding one of Libya's main oil ports on Thursday with a gun assault and an attempted car bomb.