Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says his country's oil fields are secure, but that foreign oil companies are worried they might be attacked by "armed gangsters."
The Libyan leader said Wednesday in a speech in the capital Tripoli that international oil firms are "afraid" about continued operations as fighting for control of the country continues. But Gadhafi said Libya's oil fields and ports are "safe" and "under control."
He made the comments after reports that his government forces had retaken the oil refinery city of Brega on the Mediterranean coast from anti-government rebels.
A Libyan oil official said that exports from the rebel-held eastern portion of the country are proceeding normally. But Libyan and oil industry officials say the country's 1.6-million-barrel-a-day oil production has been cut in half during the unrest.
That has led to sharp increases in the price of oil on world markets, with the price for Brent crude topping $112 a barrel in London. Oil traded in New York is hovering around $100 a barrel.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.