Libyan government shake up could hurt oil deals

Libyan nationals protest against Muammar Gaddafi's regime in front of a building housing Libyan embassy in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: It's been a real battle for control of Libyan oil strongholds since opposition forces have tried to overthrow Colonel Moammar Gaddafi. Rebel forces have taken control of a number of oil export terminals in the east, near Benghazi. But government fighters are trying to retake control. We tell you this because what happens in those places is having a big impact on the price of oil and gas. Libya's a big oil producer.

Samuel Ciszuk is senior analyst for consulting firm IHS Energy. He's with us from London. Good morning, sir.

SAMUEL CISZUK: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: So we've gotten these reports that pro-government forces are attacking key oil cities in the Libya. What's that going to do to the market?

CISZUK: It's going to continue, obviously, to rattle the market. For now I think, you know Libyan production is pretty much discounted. However, if we actually see fighting about the up stream and down stream installation and then you know obviously potentially damage to them, we are starting to talk about long-term impact.

CHIOTAKIS: A senior official there in Libya at the state oil company said that the country's going to continue to get paid, even if it gets hit with sanctions from around the world. How's that going to work?

CISZUK: Firstly we need to take everything that comes from the upper echelons of the old regime with a big pinch of salt. But you know at the same time there's still facilities for the financial transactions to take place for opposition controlled exports, everything is stifled flowing into the accounts, held effectively by the old government. And some of this oil has already been sold on a term contract to oil companies, so if suddenly opposition forces start to see the same oil to other ones, there might be legal problems between oil companies in the west.

CHIOTAKIS: Are we guaranteed, assuming that opposition forces do take the reigns in Libya that things will settle down.

CISZUK: Um, no I think unfortunately there's no guarantees at all. And this is what makes it very unpredictable.

CHIOTAKIS: Samuel Ciszuk, senior energy analyst for IHS in London. Samuel, thank you.

CISZUK: Thank you.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.

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