Libya needs stability to rebuild oil industry

Libyan rebels drive past the Zawiya oil refinery west of Tripoli, Libya after taking complete control of the key oil refinery.

Stacey Vanek Smith: Rebel forces in Libya have reportedly seized control of the country this morning. After more than 40 years of rule by Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan people and economy will need a lot of help getting back on their feet.

Here to talk about what the new Libya might look like is journalist and commentator Nabila Ramdani. Good morning, Nabila.

Nabila Ramdani: Good morning.

Smith: We're hearing a lot this morning about oil, obviously Libya's got a lot of oil. Would that potentially be the centerpiece to a new economy?

Ramdani: Very much so. And I would contend that was one of the reasons why the West joined in the war in Libya for a start -- because of its vast oil reserves. And we're already seeing in Tripoli conflicts between various factions vying for oil revenues. So there's already tribal rivalries, regional rivalries, about who should get control of those oil revenues.

Smith: The rebel forces have been talking with European countries already, from what I understand, about oil shipments and other economic ties. How fast do you expect that would get up to speed?

Ramdani: One of the conditions for everything to fall in place is the re-establishment of law and order, in the first instance. The management of security and policing. You cannot possibly have foreign companies coming into the country if it's a lawless country. So I think that will be the priority of not only the rebel forces, but most importantly of NATO. That's going to be a huge challenge.

Smith: Right. Well, we've seen how oil rich countries like Iraq -- the promises of oil revenue -- haven't paid off because of political issues and things like that. Do you expect that to be the case in Libya, or what will that depend on?

Ramdani: I think there's a real danger for that. We already see, as I said, various factions vying for control over oil revenues. Control over oil and gas revenue is going to be absolutely crucial in holding together the different tribes -- and let's not forget that Libya, historically, is a country which is entrenched with tribal rivalaries, regional rivalries. So there's a real danger of seeing Libya not remain a single entity.

Smith: Nabila Ramdani is a journalist and commentator specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. Thank you so much, Nabila.

Ramdani: Thank you.

Comments

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