ESAI: Libyan chaos to keep oil flow low

Oil production in Libya—recently one fourth of its 1.65 million b/d average prior to the start of civil unrest in 2011—will “remain constrained by realities on the ground perhaps for years,” warns ESAI Energy LLC, Wakefield, Mass.

The country has become the focus of western-nation resistance to the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). The US has conducted air strikes against IS targets, a French aircraft carrier is reported moving toward Libyan waters, and rumors emerged but were quickly rejected of Italian military troops moving to the country.

These developments, ESAI says, “only highlighted the ongoing chaos in that north African country.”

Western-nation efforts concentrate on striking ISIS leaders and operators and on keeping refugees from flowing into southern Europe.

“The level of effort and the focus of western states in Libya, at least as regards ISIS, are on strict counterterrorism as opposed to creating conditions in which competing claimants to governing legitimacy can work out a compromise,” ESAI says. Those factions, meanwhile, “have to defend themselves against not only other claimants to legitimacy but also ISIS and other smaller groups that have begun to attack Libyan oil production and export facilities with increasing regularity.”

ESAI points out that the Libyan civil war is nearly 2 years old, and political chaos has escalated “with no end in sight” since the overthrow of Mohammar Gadaffi in 2011.

“Unfortunately for those looking for stability anytime soon,” ESAI says, “the average civil war lasts 12 years.”

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