BEIRUT

Middle East

Libyan premier says gov't takes back seized Ras Lanuf, Es Sider oil ports

TRIPOLI: Libya's acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said the government had reached a deal with a rebel leader who had taken control of oil ports to hand over the last two terminals and end a blockade that crippled the OPEC nation's petroleum industry.

Thinni said on Wednesday the government had now taken back Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports without use of force after an agreement with Ibrahim Jathran, whose fighters had seized the terminals about a year ago to demand more regional autonomy.

"We have successfully reached an agreement to solve the oil crisis. We have received today Ras Lanuf and Es Sider oil ports," Thinni said at a televised conference at Ras Lanuf terminal in eastern Libya. "This is the end of the oil crisis."

A spokesman for Jathran's self-declared Cyrenaica region had on Tuesday night announced a deal to hand over the two ports as a goodwill gesture.

Taking back the two major eastern oil terminals could make available around 500,000 more barrels a day of crude for export, though shipments may still face technical delays and past deals have been slowed by subsequent political disagreements.

News of the Libyan agreement and encouraging signs of Iraq's supplies earlier on Wednesday helped trim world crude oil prices by $1 on global markets.

Jathran's rebels and their allies had agreed in April to reopen the two smaller ports, and then gradually free up Es Sider and Ras Lanuf.

Libya produced around 1.4 million bpd before a wave of protests, strikes and blockades reduced the output to as low as 150,000 bpd. As of Tuesday, national output stood at 321,000 bpd. Separate protests have curtailed production at some other oilfields.

Disputes over Libya's vast oil resources have been among the many triggers for conflict between rival brigades of former rebels and allied political factions since the civil war that ended four decades of Gaddafi's one-man rule in 2011. 

 
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Summary

Libya's acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said the government had reached a deal with a rebel leader who had taken control of oil ports to hand over the last two terminals and end a blockade that crippled the OPEC nation's petroleum industry.

Thinni said on Wednesday the government had now taken back Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports without use of force after an agreement with Ibrahim Jathran, whose fighters had seized the terminals about a year ago to demand more regional autonomy.


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