Oil Money Still Flowing To Libya

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Despite a grip on power that can only be described as tenuous, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is still reaping the rewards of his country's status as one of the world's dominant oil exporters as oil payments are still flowing to Libya's central bank despite sanctions on the country by the U.S. and European nations.

Libya, an OPEC and Africa's third-largest oil exporter behind Angola and Nigeria, has seen its oil output dwindle substantially since the onset of political protests in the country calling for Gadhafi's removal from power. Before the protests, Libya was pumping an estimated 1.6 million barrels of crude per day.

The Financial Times cited oil officials and shipbrokers as saying Libya exported about 570,000 barrels per day in the last week of February and 400,000 barrels per day this week. Based on current oil prices, those figures are worth $770 million, the FT reported.

That is money the embattled dictator gets to control directly because economic sanctions by Western powers cannot be applied directly to Libya's central bank. Buyers are becoming more scarce for Libyan crude, but the FT noted China and India have continued to purchase oil from Libya. The North African country is home to the continent's largest oil reserves.