Support Marketplace

How fast can Libya recover?

A worker's helmet lies on the ground at the Zawiya oil refinery west of Tripoli after Libyan rebels pushing to cut off Tripoli took complete control of the key oil refinery.

Adriene Hill: The price of oil around the globe has fallen this morning as rebel forces entered the Libyan capital of Tripoli. And global markets, especially those in Europe, are reacting positively to the news that Col. Muammar Gaddafi regime may be nearing its final days. At this point, the rebels say no one knows where Gadafi is. At one point, before the current uprising, Libya supplied 2 percent of the world's oil -- and a lot of that went to Europe.

Samuel Ciszuk is senior energy analyst for North Africa and the Middle East at IHS Energy. Good morning.

Samuel Ciszuk: Good morning.

Hill: So how quickly will a rebel government be able to get this Libyan oil to the market?

Ciszuk: Well, that's a very good question. We don't know how much has been destroyed. We know that some destruction has been made during the civil war -- to some of the export facilities particularly. And of course, Libya has always been reliant on a lot of foreign labor. A lot of the bulk oil engineers and geologists come from other Arab countries. You have to sort of make them comfortable enough of Libyan stability to want to return.

Hill: How big a deal is this for the U.S., for gas prices here in the U.S., and for the global oil market more broadly?

Ciszuk: When Libya disappeared from the markets about six months ago, the so-called "risk premium" was added on the oil price -- basically, of not knowing how much oil there would be in the future and the fear that any other disruptions would create severe shortages elsewhere. Of course, what we've seen in the last few days have made markets look at this positively and take some of that "risk premium" away, meaning oil prices have started to come down. People are less worried. We'll probably see that continuing, but of course it depends on whether the transitional government will be able to exert its authority properly, and whether it will be able to continue being united. Because otherwise, there will be fears that oil production might not necessarily recover.

Hill: Samuel Ciszuk is senior energy analyst for North Africa and the Middle East at IHS Energy. Thanks so much.

Ciszuk: Thank you.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...