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Libya's western Zawiya oil port, refinery shut by protests - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A general view shows the Zawiya oil installation on August 22, 2013, in Zawiya, Libya. (AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA)

A general view shows the Zawiya oil installation on August 22, 2013, in Zawiya, Libya. (AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA)

Tripoli, Reuters—Libya’s bid to resume normal oil exports after blockades at eastern ports that have lasted months stumbled on Friday when the oil terminal and refinery at Zawiya in the west were closed by fresh protests.

A blockade by local citizens late on Thursday prevented oil workers from discharging several oil product deliveries and forced the 120,000-barrel-per-day refinery to shut down, according to a government statement and a state oil company spokesman.

Two laden tankers, the Valdaosta and MT Torm Charente, were anchored outside the port on Friday, Reuters AIS Live shipping showed.

The protesters were demonstrating against the General National Congress, the country’s deeply divided parliament. The local council is negotiating with them.

Two days ago, the same group of protesters set fire to the council headquarters for the town of Zawiya, one of the activists told Reuters.

Breakthrough deal

The port closure compounds Libya’s troubles in resolving protests that have choked oil exports and adds to stoppages at the connecting oilfield El-Sharara and its pipeline which have been blocked by other groups since March.

A breakthrough deal on Sunday between the government and a federalist group led by former oil facilities security guard Ibrahim Jadhran set in motion the re-opening of the ports of Hariga and Zueitina in the east after months of blockades.

Refiners have started chartering ships to pick up Sarir crude from Hariga, according to traders and shippers, while the larger Ras Lanuf and Sidra ports remain blocked.

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Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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