The Address | Benghazi – Libya
AL-ZAWIYA – The extent of Libya’s fuel smuggling was laid bare in September by a report by the UN Panel of Experts. Lacking refinery capacity, Libya spends $3.3bn a year importing petrol and refined products, much of it from Italy. Petrol arrives in Zawiya, Libya’s largest western oil port, where militias steal much of it and smuggle it back to Italy via Malta using a fleet of 70 boats, Petroleum Economist reported.
Italian police have begun investigating the Italian end of the smuggling operation, with one source close to the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) telling Petroleum Economist that up to 9% of gasoline sold in Italian petrol stations is smuggled from Libya. In June the UN and US imposed sanctions on six Zawiya migrant smugglers, including the local petroleum guard chief, who was also implicated in fuel smuggling.