Libya Unrest Worries Oil Industry

As Libya’s government cracks down on opposition activists, major oil producers are suspending production and repatriating workers. One Houston analyst says there are more worries this time about Middle East protests because they are increasingly violent. Ed Mayberry reports.

Libya's affect on gas prices(Gas pump sound effects)

The price at the pump continues its upward trend.

Libya is Africa’s third-largest oil producer, and the world’s 18th largest, accounting for two percent of global daily output. But scenes of violent clashes in Tripoli on YouTube on Aljezeera are becoming a greater concern to global oil markets. Barbara Shook with Energy Intelligence in Houston has been watching events unfold.
“Libya has the most repressive dictatorship, probably, of any of the countries where we’ve had a reform movement take action. Tunisia and Egypt were both major tourist spots and they had to be a little bit more open. But tourists don’t go to Libya.” 

As unrest spreads, there are questions about Saudi Arabia and neighboring Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

“One’s on one side of Saudi Arabia, the other’s on the the other side of Saudi Arabia. Does it spread? All of these are going to have an impact on gasoline prices. Consumers should just expect volatile and likely rising gasoline prices for the foreseeable future.”

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister says there is spare capacity to offset supply disruptions.

“Saudi Arabia is really the only OPEC country that has spare producing capacity and they have probably two million barrels a day that they could call on. But Saudi Arabia is, like I say, between two countries that have reform movements that have erupted already.”

Ed: “And they’re watching all this.”
“And they’re watching all of this.” 

When she fills up, Shook is mindful about how world events affect the pump price.

 “Yes, I’m aware of it. But fortunately I drive a vehicle that gets very reasonable fuel economy. And so the combination of the two — I just accept it.” 


Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

News Anchor

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with much of his early career as a rock’n’roll disc jockey. He worked as part of a morning show team on album rock station KLBJ-FM, and later co-hosted a morning show at adult rock station KGSR, both in Austin. Ed also conducted...

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