Libya resumes oil exports from eastern terminals following clashes

Libya resumes oil exports from eastern terminals following clashes
2 min read
11 July, 2018
The internationally recognised National Oil Company said production and export levels would return to 'normal levels' within hours.
Marsa al-Hariga oil terminal in eastern Libya [Getty]

Libya's east is resuming oil exports after the internationally recognised National Oil Company was handed back control of four terminals Wednesday morning. 

The firm said "production and export operations will return to normal levels within the next few hours" in a public statement.  

Exports from the four ports stalled after military strongman Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) seized them from a rival militia in June.

The NOC had at the time declared force majeure on oil loadings at the ports, a legal measure that frees parties to a contract from their obligations due to circumstances beyond their control.

But on Wednesday it said it would resume operations at the Al-Hariga, Zweitina, Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra ports, which form the backbone of oil and gas production in the country.

The NOC said in early July that the crisis had slashed crude production by over four fifths and cut the country's heavily oil-dependent public revenues by some $67.4 million per day.

Libya has been gripped by chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muamma Gaddafi. Haftar, who previously served under Gaddafi but who came out against him in 2011, recaptured the terminals in June.

Armed groups held the terminals from 2011 to 2016.

Haftar's forces said they would hand revenues from the oil terminals to the administration in the east, a rival to the UN-backed Government of National Accord. 

But the GNA urged the UN to block any "illegal" oil exports, and the NOC in Tripoli said it was the "only recognised Libyan entity" responsible for oil production and exports.

In its statement Wednesday, the NOC said the facilities had been handed back to its control, and added that its board "commended (Haftar's forces) for putting the national interest first".

OPEC has estimated Libya's oil reserves at 48 billion barrels, which makes them the largest in Africa.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab