Libya's eastern district lays down oil gauntlet

Jan. 29, 2014 at 6:59 AM
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BAYDA, Libya, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Oil will flow again from Libya's eastern export terminals once the government in Tripoli meets demands from the region, a Cyrenaica administrator said.

Abdraba Abdulhameed al-Barasi, leader from the regional Cyrenaica government, told the Libya Herald the central government agreed to form a committee to oversee future production and exports from Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania states.

Tripoli has yet to answer, however, on whether Cyrenaica can take in profits generated from oil produced in the region, the Libyan newspaper reports. Agreeing to all of the demands is the only way to restart exports from eastern terminals, al-Barasi said Tuesday.

In November, rebel groups in the east of the country, some of which helped topple the regime of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, declared independence for Cyrenaica, which hosts some of Libya's key oil terminals.

Before the 2011 conflict, Libya produced on average 1.6 million bpd and was one of the premier oil producers in North Africa. The country has flirted with that level since widespread fighting ended in late 2011 but recent production levels have suffered because of internal conflict.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said in early January he reserved the right to use force against oil tankers trying to dock at ports under rebel control in eastern Libya.

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