Country Listing

Libya Table of Contents



With its substantial hydrocarbon resources and relatively small (although increasing) needs, Libya traditionally has had large energy surpluses. Estimates in 1983 put the amount of Libya's excess energy supply at 94,196 tons of coal equivalent. All electric power was thermally generated by stations powered with natural gas or petroleum. Total generating capacity in 1983 was estimated to be 7,150 gigawatts per hour.

The General Electric Organization, part of the Secretariat of Communications, was in charge of generating electricity. According to its data, domestic usage of electricity exceeded agricultural and industrial usage. The data for 1977 suggested that most homes had electrical power and also indicated the relatively small industrial base of the country. Many oil company installations, however, maintained their own small plants.

Under the 1981-85 development plan, a total of LD779 million was allocated for electrical projects between 1982 and 1985. In addition, Libya has actively sought to develop a nuclear power generating facility for fear that its rising industrial power needs might begin to cut into oil exports. In 1985 technical studies were under way for the construction of an 880-megawatt nuclear power station near Surt. The Soviet Union had agreed to supply the two 440-megawatt reactor cores needed to power the plant. The total cost of the project was put at US$4.2 billion. According to the secretary for atomic energy, enough local uranium had been discovered to fuel the plant, but studies were also being done on deposits in the Aouzou Strip area in Libyan-occupied Chad (see fig. 3). In 1985 approximately 850 Libyans were undergoing training at the Tajura nuclear research center near Tripoli, which was equipped with a small 10- megawatt research reactor.

Data as of 1987