News / Middle East

Libya Oil Output Slips, Fresh Fighting in Tripoli

Reuters

Libyan oil production has fallen, turning back a hard-won increase since April in the revenue flow for the government facing increased fighting around the airport in the capital and in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The El-Feel oilfield last week was forced to cut back due to events in Tripoli, where two rival brigades of militias have fought over control of the airport.

El-Feel, operated by state-run National Oil Corporation and Italy's ENI, is protected by security guards from the northwestern Zintan region, whose fighters also protect the airport where clashes have gone on for a week.

National Oil Company spokesman Mohamed El Harari said output as of Monday was around 450,000 bpd compared with 555,000 bpd on Thursday.

At least 47 people have died in the week-long Tripoli airport clashes, which involved artillery, Grad rockets and anti-aircraft guns, in some of the heaviest street fighting since the 2011 civil war.

Fresh fighting broke out on Monday night in Tripoli and Benghazi where armed forces and troops loyal to a renegade former army general are battling Islamist militants who have set up base there.

There were no immediate reports on casualties from Monday's fighting in Benghazi or the Qasr Ben Ghashir neighborhood near Tripoli airport where residents have been forced from their homes or trapped by the gun battles.

“There are a lot of families still stuck and not able to get out because of the intensity of the shelling and bombing, which is with all kinds of heavy weapons,” said local area mayor Mohammad Abdullah.

The clashes have stopped most international flights, damaged more than a dozen planes parked at the airport - one Airbus jet billowed black smoke after being hit on Monday - and prompted the United Nations to pull its staff out of Libya.

The airport clash reflects national divisions between two main factions: those from the western town of Zintan and their allies who are loosely tied to the National Forces Alliance political movement, and the more Islamist-leaning Misrata brigades and allied militias who side with Justice and Construction Party, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Libya's oil resources have often been targeted by armed groups since 2011 to push the government for financial or political gain. Last year a string of protests slashed oil output to less than half the usual 1.4 million barrels per day.

A negotiated deal in April mostly ended a year-long blockade by a former rebel commander over four key oil ports, allowing Libya to slowly rebuild production, shipping crude and earning vital oil revenue.

One of Libya's ports, Brega, is expected to be operating within a “few days” after the government reached a deal with protesting security guards to end a blockade, NOC's Harari said.

According to Reuters AIS Live tanker tracking service, no tankers had loaded so far at Brega. One crude shipment left the 230,000 barrels-per-day Zawiya port, supplied by the  El Sharara oilfield, which was recently reopened. The Olympic Spirit II, carrying Aframax, crude oil, headed to the Spanish port of Bilbao having left July 20.    

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs