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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Libya's oil ports may reopen to fix power cuts: Haftar associate

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 19 August 2020 8:51 AM

A rebel commander linked to Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar says the country's eastern oil ports could reopen in a bid to repair local power shortages.

The ports can dispose of fuel and gas stockpiles to fix power cuts in eastern Libya, according to a statement released late on Tuesday by Naji al-Maghrabi, who heads an oilfield guard linked to Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army (LNA).

Maghrabi did not explain whether normal production would restart at the oilfields.

Libya's state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC) had warned last week of power cuts in Libya's east, where a seven-month blockade of oil and gas facilities by the rebels has deprived electricity stations of fuel, leading to a loss of power lasting as long as 12 hours.

Haftar's rebels started the blockade on Libya's oil industry when they managed to take control of oil export terminals and fields in the east in January. Libya – which sits atop the largest oil reserves in Africa – has been forced to halt oil production as a result. It used to produce nearly 1.2 million barrels per day last year. That figure plunged to about 90,000 daily barrels since the rebel forces forced the halt to the operations at the oilfields and ports. The blockade has cost the North African nation at least eight billion dollars.

The rebels insisted last month that the blockade would only end when there was agreement to distribute revenue in a fairer way.

According to al-Maghrabi, Haftar met representatives from the NOC and a Persian Gulf oil company to try to "ease the suffering of citizens in all walks of life, safeguard the infrastructure at production and export sites, and maintain the existing oil facilities."

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the internationally-recognized government, run by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by Haftar's rebels.

The rebels have been fighting to unseat the government with support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan. Government forces have been receiving crucial support from Turkey.

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