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Libya: Fuel shortage and the power of rumours, origins and awards

It's really been too quiet for the Libyan bloggers, I'm wondering if it is a bug or if it is just a coincidence and they all are busy with their lives?
Because of this the voice of Libyan bloggers has subdued on GVO these past few months.

However, the good news is that Ghazi and his blog Imtidad won the BOBs User Award 2007. I think this is a first for a Libyan blogger and we are proud of him.

Whilst we are on the topic of awards, Braveheart has kept his promise and is introducing his 2007 Libyan Bloggers Award.

“”i have the pleasure to announce my Award for the best blogger for 2007 and all of you are invited to participate in this award. as u dont know i'm big fan of football, thats why i take FIFA system to select best player of the year and use it in my award. the way is very easy each one of you can nominate his best five bloggers which he/she believes they are the best.( i know u'll all of u nominate me :-P) it's totally depends on ur views and ideas and i think most of us have open minds and will not feel offended cos she/he dont select him in his/ her list. this mean this award totally depend on selective thinking and not objective one. it's depand on ur thinking and how u can rate the other which point u think it's more important than the other.
ur list it will be 5 names and list it from 1 to 5, number 1 will have 5 marks and the number2 will have 4 and so on . at the end of the month will see which one got the highest marks to take his award [sic]”.

Let's count the date until the results are announced.

Tasnim has an interesting post about Libyans in the diaspora who make the so-called back -to -our -roots -journey.

“Laila Al-Taiba’s one page ‘Story’ of her trip to Libya is just a little note on a non-Arabic-speaking Arab’s journey to her roots, and her pride in and gratitude for her American passport. It’s hardly intended as a biography. But I still find myself a little disgruntled by the clichés involved in being swept swiftly past 100 warm and loving faceless relatives in 5 days and half a sentence, for a paragraph detailing the eating of ice-cream and the dipping of toes in the Mediterannean and finally, a note on the uselessness of three years studying Arabic at university level in deciphering the Libyan dialect.” [more

]

Personally, I imagined this happened to other people or in movies but never to Libyans.

On the other hand rumours are a powerful weapon and sometimes create chaos. This is was obvious last week with the gasoline/fuel shortage crisis that was reported by a couple of bloggers in Tripoli.

On December 6, Hibo stated that she noticed something strange at the gas stations near her house since December 4 with more and more cars crowding her street at all times. At one point the police was interfering to regulate the flow. Her post is a blow by blow account of the situation. Apparently, the rumours mentioned rising gasoline prices and shortage of fuel.

Khadijateri then mentions in ” Who's got gas ” that “there's a gasoline shortage in Tripoli. That's hard to believe since Libya is an oil producing country. But it's true. The gas stations have no gasoline, though there is diesel.”

An excellent comment on Hibo's blog by Enlightened spirit sheds a good light and explains the whole situation:

“let me put my analysis for this problem here, at wensday evening a problem in gas supply happened in Tripoli and ppl couldn't find gas at some stations, the coz of the shortage was't declared officially, and here the mass panic started and with the rumors and gossip the problem inflated , the supply problem was solved quickly the next day earlly morning, but ppl conitinue their panic, coz of lack of clarity and trust, and they rush out to gas stations even if they don't really need the gas I mean with full half tank, some even bring extra barrel with them and fill it (as a consequences of many gossips like the price of the gas will increase, and the gas supply will be cut off for days, …etc), so the usual supply of the stations did't cover the extra need and the problem exagerated, but it will be solved out gradually within the next days as ppl will realise that the supply is really there and was't cutted off.[sic]”

Khadijateri reports that all is back to normal :

“The gasoline situation seems to be sorting itself out. Last night I went out to find long, long lines at some of the gas stations in my area and other places were completely closed. I didn't bother to get in line. Today I went out and found the gas stations busier than usual but not too bad.”

Basically half a day of fuel shortage resulted in two days of panic but what is the full story here, away from the speculations?

It is climate change, the modern plague and boogeyman which is affecting the weather global. Among other things it caused some unexpected weather changes as a result of which ships could not offload their cargo of refined oil (for local consumption) for half a day and the rumour mill began. But what this incident brought to the surface is the need for investment in oil refinery infrastructure in Libya. The heavily subsidized local prices and increasing consumption over the last decade as a result of a dramatic tripling of the number of cars in Libya combined with the limited capacity for production of refined fuels since no new refineries have be built to supply the local market, has lead to the need to ironically enough import slightly more than half the local need in gasoline from abroad and consequently to the threat of shortage. It does not mean we do not have oil, it means that the years of sanctions which have affected everything in Libya, especially technology and industry. This has stopped the country from investing in modern oil technology. Still this is not an excuse as sanctions have been lifted a few years ago and maybe some sort of planning should have been in place to increase Libya's capability in refining it's oil products. After all ” Libyan crude oil is particularly attractive due to its very low sulphur content; it requires much less refining than higher sulphur oil. It is extremely high quality crude, whose characteristics are not easily found elsewhere”. [source]; which means it should be easier to refine and less expensive.

Thank God the crisis was averted and people should not listen to rumours! Have you be affected by the 48 hrs situation? If yes, please share with us your experience in the comments section.

4 comments

  • mani

    I was lolol

    Had to take a taxi to work on the main crisis day and the taxi driver upped his price 2 dinars.. it was an unspoken agreement and my colleague and I paid it gladly.. we were supposed to go to work in his car and the ‘fala7’ didn’t remember to fill up the night before.. tsk tsk..

    for a country of its wealth… the lack of Libya’s infrastructure in everything is amazing..+ the ignorance of its massess (as a result of missing out on education & technical capacity for decades) makes our country a real enigma…

    all we can do is our best

    Thanks Fozia :)

  • Happpppppppppy Eid

    Enjoy ur Eid Times With Family Or With Ur Friends.

  • Wish you a happy and blessed Eid, and looking forward to your new updates

  • Fozia

    Mani I agree – amazing is it not ? well as long as you made it to the office. Also it is fair enough that the taxi raised his prices on that day. – Eid Mubarak

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