Libyan military seizes energy complex

March 4, 2013 at 7:57 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, March 4 (UPI) -- The Libyan military said it took over security responsibility of the Mellitah energy facility in western Libya after weekend fighting.

The Libyan Defense Ministry said the military took control of security at the Mellitah complex near the country's west coast, the Libya Herald reports. The facility fed natural gas through the Greenstream natural gas pipeline for Italy.

Deputy Defense Minister Khalid Sharif said security at Mellitah would be handed over to a special energy security unit following clashes with militants last weekend. The Herald reports the facility was shut down in fear that gunfire could spark an explosion.

The facility is run through a joint venture between Italy energy company Eni and Libya's National Oil Corp.

Italy received nearly 10 percent of its natural gas from Libya's Greenstream pipeline before civil war began in February 2011.

Al-Qaida militants stormed the In Amenas gas facility along Algeria's eastern border with Libya earlier this year.

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