News / Middle East

    Libya Restarts Oil Exports From Biggest Port

    A view of part of the Es Sider oil export terminal in Ras Lanuf, west of Benghazi, March 11, 2014.
    A view of part of the Es Sider oil export terminal in Ras Lanuf, west of Benghazi, March 11, 2014.
    Reuters

    Libya has restarted oil exports from its biggest port, Es Sider, for the first time since the end of a year-long blockade, which is a boost to the central government struggling with a wave of clashes in the capital.

    The OPEC member's oil production has risen in the past few weeks to about 560,000 barrels a day as ports in the east have resumed work under a deal with a group of federalist rebels, adding to a crude market that is already well supplied.

    But in a reminder of the risk of further instability, the acting oil minister said he had resigned, while heavy fighting erupted in a suburb of the main eastern city Benghazi between forces of a renegade general and Islamist fighters. Explosions were so loud they could be heard in the city center.

    Home to the headquarters of several oil firms, Benghazi is located some 130 kilometer from Zueitina, one of the four reopened eastern ports.

    A tanker has docked at Es Sider and begun loading 600,000 barrels of oil, said Mohamed El Harari, spokesman for state-run National Oil Corp (NOC). Ship tracking data on Reuters showed the Aframax tanker Maria Bottiglieri anchored at Es Sider.

    Technical problems and mistrust between the rebels and the government had delayed implementing an oil port deal but output has risen to 562,000 barrels per day (bpd), NOC said on Tuesday. This is well above lows of barely 100,000 bpd seen earlier this year, but still well short of levels of about 1.4 million bpd a year ago.

    Traders and shipping sources expect several more cargoes to be shipped by companies with stakes in the Waha Oil Co, which runs the Es Sider port and connected oilfields, such as Marathon Oil, Hess, and ConocoPhillips. Austria's OMV AG is also expected to lift a cargo.

    The North African country badly needs higher exports to cover budget needs as oil is the only source of income.

    The Es Sider port currently holds some 4.5 million barrels in storage, but once the tanks are emptied, the connected oilfields can restart production, officials said.

    “The returning oil supply from Libya is flooding a market that is already amply supplied,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch

    New oil minister

    Clashes in Tripoli and Benghazi have mostly occurred away from oilfields and ports, which in the past have often been the target of takeovers by armed factions pressing political or economic demands on the country's fragile government.

    Apart from fighting another constant feature in post-Gadhafi Libya is frequent changes of senior government positions, reflecting political infighting and fast-changing alliances.

    Acting Oil Minister Omar Shakmak said on Wednesday that he would resign following a written request by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni.

    “I will abide by the decision because it is not a matter of job, but it is Libya. We can serve Libya in different jobs,” he told Reuters by phone. He did not say why he would be replaced.

    NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanallah will take over Shakmak's job as deputy minister while remaining at the helm of the oil firm, Harari said. Since there has been no oil minister for months Sanallah will effectively become acting oil minister.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora