by WorldTribune Staff, January 10, 2017
The entire western region of Libya is on the verge of a total power blackout after an armed group closed off the gas pipeline that feeds the area’s main electric generation unit.
Officials at Al-Zawiya Oil Refinery said on Jan. 9 that the group had not named any demands over the shutdown.
Libya has been in the throes of a harsh winter with cities in the west, south, and east plagued by power outages, leaving them desperate to find alternative sources to keep warm.
Refinery officials added that the main power generation unit at the Al-Harsha power plant is currently working but is using a limited amount of spare diesel fuel. Refinery officials said the spare fuel won’t be sufficient for more than a day and a half.
“The western region will then go into total darkness as a blackout will take place due to the expected shortage of electricity generation in the power plant,” refinery officials said. “If the closure does not end, we will be ready for a total blackout in the west of Libya.”
Meanwhile, Libya’s UN-backed government said it will declare force majeure at two ports to stop fuel smuggling.
A statement from the Libyan presidential council said the decision was made after officials accused a local armed group of fuel smuggling from Zawiya port. The measure will cover Zawiya and Zuwara ports.
The armed faction guarding Zawiya port withdrew from the terminal last week.
Libya expects its oil production to rise to around 900,000 barrels per day after a series of agreements to re-open major oil ports and oilfields closed for two years by armed factions, fighting and strikes.