Libya oil exports fall to a fifth of pre-war level

Esam Mohamed, Associated Press
Libya oil exports at 20 percent of pre-war level

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2011 file photo, a Libyan oil worker, works at a refinery inside the Brega oil complex, in Brega, eastern Libya. Libya’s deputy oil minister told reporters late Tuesday, Aug, 27, 2013, that the country’s oil exports are five times less than what they were prior to the 2011 war that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Libya's deputy oil minister says that protests by security guards have knocked the country's oil exports down to five times less than what they were prior to the 2011 war that toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Omar el-Shakmak told reporters late Tuesday that Libya is currently exporting between 300 and 320 thousand barrels of oil per day, down half of what it was last week and five times less than the 1.6 million it was exporting before the war.

He warned that if three oil pipelines in the western part of the country remain closed for more than a week, the country will suffer a fuel shortage.

Protests by guards at refineries and ports, as well as gunmen demanding money, have also hurt Libya's oil exports and shut down ports in the east.