Western Libya faces power blackout amid brutal winter

Western Libya faces power blackout amid brutal winter
A major power plant in western Libya is running on reserve fuel after militants seized and shut down the facility's main gas pipeline.
2 min read
11 January, 2017
Cities across Libya are suffering from power shortages [AFP]
Libya's entire western region is facing a total power blackout following the seizure of the region's key gas pipeline by an armed group.

The pipeline, which feeds the area's electric generation unit, was shut down by the fighters.

"The western region will then go into total darkness as a blackout will take place due to the expected shortage of electricity generation in the power plant," officials from the al-Zawiya refinery said.

"If the closure does not end, we will be ready for a total blackout in the west of Libya."

The officials said on January 9 that the militants had not stated any demands related to the shutdown.

They added that al-Harsha power plant's main power generation unit is currently running on a reserve of spare diesel fuel. It is expected that the spare fuel will not last beyond Thursday.

Libya's UN-backed government, meanwhile, has said that it will declare a force majeure at two ports to prevent fuel smuggling. 

Libya's presidential council said the decision was made after officials alleged that a local armed group were siphoning fuel from the Zawiya port.

At present, Libya is plagued by power shortages across the country as harsh winter weather conditions continue.

The North African nation has made several moves in recent weeks to increase its oil production to around 900,000 barrels per day after reopening major oil fields and ports that were closed by armed groups.