Libyan oil ports opened

July 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, July 9 (UPI) -- Oil export terminals in Libya are back online following protests that coincided with the first national elections in a generation, an executive said.

Protesters staged demonstrations at the oil ports of Brega, Es-Sider and Ras Lanuf in solidarity with a semiautonomy move for Cyrenaica, the oil-rich eastern province. Demonstrations cut oil exports by around 300,000 barrels per day.

Nuri Berruien, chairman of the state-run National Oil Corp., told Bloomberg News that ports were open and Libya's export capacity was moving back toward 1.5 million bpd.

"The three ports are open, production is picking up and ships are getting in to start loading," he said.

Libyans voted for members of their new Parliament, the first such action in a generation. Before the vote, armed opposition groups stormed election headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi in a bid for greater autonomy for the region. Benghazi was the sight of the first demonstrations against Gadhafi's government in February 2011

Last year's civil war shut down oil production in Libya, one of Africa's top oil-producing countries. Libya before the war was producing around 1.6 million bpd.

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