Libya's oil exports have more than halved following an order from Libyan General Khalifa Haftar to close some important ports. As a result, Libya can export 800,000 barrels of oil a day less than usual, the state oil company National Oil Corp (NOC) writes on Saturday. That is more than half of what the country normally exports: last week the country exported around 1.3 million barrels of oil.
General Haftar decided to close the five ports on Friday, two days before a major peace stop in Berlin, Germany. Libya has been in political chaos and war since the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
A small part of the country, including the capital Tripoli, is in the hands of the internationally recognized government led by Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj. However, the vast majority of the country is in the hands of troops led by General Haftar.
The closure of the ports is seen as a way of putting economic pressure on the central government led by Al Sarraj, which is located in the Libyan capital Tripoli. According to the NOC, the blockade costs the country around $ 55 million ($ 49.6 million) per day.
The United Nations mission in Libya reacted negatively to the action of General Haftar. "The action would have devastating consequences for the Libyan people, who depend on the free flow of oil for their well-being," the UN envoy said.