Libya central bank says oil revenues down to $4.8 bln last year - Zawya Projects

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Libya central bank says oil revenues down to $4.8 bln last year

Libya's oil revenues have collapsed 90% between 2012 and last year to $4.8bn
By Ahmed Elumami

TRIPOLI, April 23 (Reuters) - Libya's oil revenues have collapsed 90 percent between 2012 and last year to $4.8 billion, battered by conflict, oil stoppages, political infighting and low crude prices, the central bank governor said on Sunday.

Since civil war toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has slipped steadily into chaos, with rival armed factions and their political leaders battling for control of oil and a U.N.-backed government struggling to impose authority.

Tripoli's unity government was created to reconcile rival governments and parliaments set up in Tripoli and the east of Libya in 2014 and to end a conflict between their armed supporters, but it has faced resistance from various factions.

"Oil revenues fell from $53.3 billion in 2012 to $4.8 billion in 2016," Central Bank director Sadiq Alkabeer told reporters in Tripoli.

He said losses from closures of oil ports, pipelines and oil fields by armed groups, militants or protests had led to losses exceeding $160 billion in the last five years for the North African OPEC member.

Libya's oil production has been below the 1.6 million barrels per day it had before the 2011 uprising. At times it fell below 200,000 bpd. But the reopening of major oil export terminals late last year increased output to around 700,000 bpd. But protests closed two major fields in March and April.

Even the central bank's role has been contested with a rival branch set up in the east and the Tripoli bank reluctant to pay funding to the government until it wins backing from a parliament in the east as agreed under the unity deal.

That legislation, split among moderates and hardliners, has never voted to back the unity government. But the central bank last year agreed to work with the unity government to help ease the economic crisis.

Libya's presidential council, the main executive, has clashed with the bank on how to tackle problems including a liquidity crisis, inflation, a widening black market exchange rate premium and a huge public deficit.

The U.N.-backed government faces huge challenges in Tripoli, where real power is held by a patchwork of former anti-Gaddafi rebel militias with shifting allegiances. A self-declared government it tried to replace has been attempting to make a comeback by force.

The unity government is also opposed by eastern power-brokers allied to military commander Khalifa Haftar, who has made territorial gains in eastern and central Libya this year and threatened to move on Tripoli.

(writing by Patrick Markey) ((pat.markey@thomsonreuters.com; +213-661-692993; Reuters Messaging: pat.markey.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))