Tripoli— Libyan oil production plunged Monday after rebels shut down the major Elephant oil field in southern Libya in protest against the General National Congress (GNC) whose mandate expired on 7 February.
The measure has brought down production from about 250,000 barrels per day to about 15,000 barrels per day
A large majority of the Libyan people have voiced their dissatisfaction of the way the National Congress and its members have been running the country. The ousting of former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan by the GNC ten days ago has been seen as a result of factional struggle for power rather than a disagreement on public policies.
There is concern that rebels could take further measures to bring the GNC and the country to its knees if new parliamentary elections were not held as soon as possible.
The Elephant oil field is managed by the Italian ENI. Eni’s Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni has been in a visit to Tripoli where he held talks on Monday with the Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Al-theni.
In a statement on Monday Eni said the key issue discussed in the meeting between Scaroni and Al-theni was the importance of maintaining and increasing Eni’s current production levels in Libya.
“Following the recent evolutions in the international political scene, Eni’s CEO also underlined the growing importance of Libya to Italy’s gas supply security,” it said.
The reduction of oil and gas production in Libya is seen by Italy as a potential threat to its energy supplies, especially in light of the ongoing Ukraine crisis and deterioration of relations between Russia and the West.
This article was originally published here.