BREGA, Libya – The massive oil terminal at Brega feels strangely deserted for Libya’s second-largest hydrocarbon complex.
After more than a week of turmoil in the country, production has been scaled back by almost 90 percent with many employees fleeing and ships not coming to collect its products.
The most activity on the site Saturday appeared to be a squad of boys from the nearby town finishing the job of tearing apart the local headquarters of Moammar Gadhafi’s Revolutionary Committee.
The seaside Brega complex, some 125 miles west of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, collects crude oil and gas from Libya’s fields in the southeast and prepares it for export. It also produces some petrochemicals and refined products for local consumption.
Since the crisis began on Feb. 15, however, General Manager Fathi Eissa said the facility has had to scale back production dramatically from 90,000 barrels of crude a day to just 11,000.
There are no reliable figures about the impact of the uprising against Gadhafi on Libya’s oil exports, but facilities across the country have been forced to make sharp cuts. Most Libyan ports – the main method of export – also were closed due to bad weather, staff shortages or production outages, according to the International Energy Agency.
The IEA, citing reports from Western producers, said overall crude production has dropped from 1.6 million barrels per day to 850,000.
The unrest in the OPEC nation – which ranks about 17th among world oil producers and has Africa’s largest proven oil reserves – has sparked a major spike in world oil prices.