Libya says fuel smuggling to Malta increasing

TRIPOLI, June 18 Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:32am EDT

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TRIPOLI, June 18 (Reuters) - Large amounts of fuel are being smuggled from Libya to Malta - even as angry motorists queue in Tripoli and the state oil firm struggles to deliver due to a lack of security at petrol stations

Libya's cabinet said the smuggling was increasing. It enjoys some of the world's cheapest petrol prices as the government heavily subsides it to ease social pressures.

"This phenomena is a threat to Libya and affects national security," the government said in a statement after Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni met Malta's ambassador.

Libya has suffered from smuggling of fuel into neighbours but this has mostly been via land borders.

The increase comes at a time when oil output has fallen to less than 300,000 barrels a day due to wave of protests at oilfields and ports over financial and political demands, down from 1.4 million bpd when the strike action started. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing and Omar Fahmy; Editing by William Hardy)

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