Eager to rebound from the halt in production in output brought on by last year’s sweeping political transitions, North African states are stepping up efforts to quell worries about security and stability. However, despite their best efforts, some actions are being met with obstacles that include financial challenges and even violence. A recent report in The Wall Street Journal suggested that the instability in the region, as well as the uncertainty about the viability of Iranian oil, had sent large consumers like China in search of new sources of oil and natural gas.
“China is making good progress toward diversifying its oil supply,” Gordon Kwan, a Hong Kong-based energy analyst at Mirae Asset Securities told the WSJ. “If they were to concentrate on just one or two countries that just accidentally went out of production, [global] oil prices could easily double.”
One of China’s losses in the region came from the production shutdown in Libya, which remains a thorn in the side of the country’s largest clients. Although the country’s transitional government has worked to restart production efforts and promote a new sense of security for foreign workers to return, some obstacles remain. So far, Libya has been unable to reopen the vital Ras Lanuf refinery despite assurances that it would already be up and running. However, despite delays, the government has worked to ease worries by saying it will be functioning within months and will be able to double its capacity within twenty-four months, according to Reuters Africa.
In Cairo, the country’s transitional government has sought out ways to combat a series of attacks on vital pipelines in the Sinai Peninsula, which began shortly before the ousting of long-standing president Hosni Mubarak. The attacks have repeatedly shut down the country’s exports to Israel and Jordon, reducing much needed revenue for the country’s new government and sending their trading partners in search of new sources of natural gas.