Libyan forces retake ports from militias

Libyan forces retake ports from militias 

East Libyan forces have managed to regain control of two major oil ports in Libya on March 14, after they were seized by the Islamist Benghazi militia earlier this month.

The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) took over the ports of Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf from the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), pursuing them 30 km west from Es Sidra, said Ahmed al-Mismari, Spokesperson of LNA.

As a result, the country’s eastern parliament said on March 15 it was canceling an agreement to unify Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC).

LNA was urged to hand over the two ports once they are fully secured. It was not disclosed to whom the ports should be handed over.

Furthermore, a senior official at NOC reportedly warned of force majeure at the two ports due to the fact that air strikes continued and rival forces mobilized soldiers in the area.

A number of workers at the Port of Sidra have been evacuated, local media cited Jadallah Alaclai, Member of NOC’s Management, as saying.

Military conflicts negatively impacted oil production in the country. Libya’s oil production reportedly dropped to 615,000 barrels a day from around 700,000 barrels.

Mustafa Sanalla, Chairman of NOC, said in a statement issued on March 4 that the country’s oil sector must not be “a political bargaining chip”, and urged all sides to refrain from conflict over oil infrastructure.