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Parts of Libya in the dark

Power outages add to Libyan energy woes.

By Daniel J. Graeber

TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Power shortages that came as a result of fighting in and around the Libyan port city of Ras Lanuf are expected to continue, an electric company said.

Two power plants that combine to produce about 500 megawatts of power are down because of fighting in the region, the General Electric Company of Libya said.

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The restive city of Benghazi this week suffered a full-scale power outage because of poor weather conditions and the electric company said much of western Libya can expect power outages to endure.

Power shortages have been chronic since civil war ended in late 2011. Lingering fighting, which has escalated in recent weeks, has pushed the country to the brink of full-scale war, the U.N. Support Mission in Libya warned.

In the oil sector, German energy company Wintershall said it suspended operations in Libya for the foreseeable future because of "intense" fighting in Ras Lanuf and nearby Zuetina.

Oil storage depots at the Es Sider port caught fire during weekend fighting. Oil export facilities in Libya have been closed due to violence since at least mid-December.

The state-run National Oil Corp. confirmed as many as five of the 21 tanks storing oil at the site were in flames, which represents about $100 million worth of crude oil.

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