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Locals Report Armed Faction Entering Major Libyan Oil Port | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view of the anchorage at the Es Sider export terminal in Ras Lanuf, west of Benghazi March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

An armed faction entered a major Libyan oil terminal and an airport at the neighboring one on Friday, after attacking forces that have controlled the terminals since September, officials and residents said.

It was unclear who controlled the ports late on Friday as fighting continued. There was no statement from the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), which reopened the ports after the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) took them over seven months ago.

Since then the LNA’s opponents have launched several unsuccessful attacks against the ports in Libya’s eastern oil crescent.

Libyan Marshal and LNA commander Khalifa Haftar has been waging a military campaign for nearly three years against radical terrorists and other opponents.

Libya has recently been producing about 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, more than double its output early last year but still far less than the 1.6 million bpd the OPEC member was pumping before the 2011 uprising.

But production remains vulnerable to political turmoil and continued insecurity, with factions based in the east and west of Libya repeatedly clashing in recent weeks in desert areas southwest of the Oil Crescent whose ports suffered major damage in previous rounds of fighting and are still operating well below capacity.