1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Fresh fighting over Libya oil ports

September 18, 2016

Fresh fighting has erupted between forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed unity government and a rival faction for control of oil ports. The loss of control of oil ports is a blow to the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Lybien Brand in Ras Lanuf
Image: Reuters/Str

A Libyan force ousted a week ago from key oil ports launched a fresh offensive Sunday, taking back control of Es Sider terminal and triggering clashes near Ras Lanuf port, a spokesman for the fighting force said.

Control of the ports remained unclear, with the rebellious Libyan National Army (LNA) saying it repelled the loyalist Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) at one port. But the fighting came as the state-run National Oil Corporation prepared to restart oil exports at the ports that have been closed for nearly two years by clashes among rival armed factions.

The US special envoy for Libya, Jonathan Winer, warned that resumed oil exports would only be acceptable if the revenue was paid into the Libyan central bank in Tripoli. "If oil were to be diverted... the US will seek to enforce UN Security Council resolutions," Winer told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

The LNA's seizure of the ports took place as the Muslim holiday of Eid was starting and faced little resistance, with a senior tribal leader calling on the PFG's fighters to switch allegiances.

After moving into Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Zueitina and Brega, the LNA said it was handing over control of the terminals to the National Oil Corporation (NOC) so that exports could resume.

The fighting between rival factions over oil ports is the latest escalation of the turmoil that has gripped Libya since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

jar/rc (AFP, Reuters)