Libya to resume oil exports within hours, NOC says

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Libya would resume oil exports from the country’s Eastern Ports, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday, after fighting between rival groups had led to a suspension of operations in June.

The corporation took over the ports of Ras Lanuf, al-Sidr, Zuwetina and al-Hariga on Wednesday and promised that “production and export operations will gradually return to normal levels over the next few hours’’.

Exports stopped after fighting began last month between forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, and rival militia in the country’s north-eastern oil crescent region.

Haftar is aligned with the interim government in eastern Libya, which is led by Abdullah al-Thini, while the UN-backed National Unity Government in Tripoli is headed by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj.

Haftar’s forces took control of the ports and initially announced they would hand them over to the eastern-based administration, but later handed them over to the Tripoli-based government instead.

After taking over the facilities on Wednesday, the NOC, which is run by Serraj’s government, praised “the Libyan army for putting the nation’s interests first’’.

Libya descended into chaos in 2011 after dictator Moamer Gaddafi was toppled in an armed revolt.

Rival armed militias and political bodies have since vied for dominance and control of the country’s oil reserves under competing governments, two in Tripoli and one in the eastern city of al-Bayda.