• Es Sider oil teriminal closed since December 2014 attacks
  • Islamic State militants, petroleum guards killed in clash

Libya’s Petroleum Facilities Guard clashed with militants of the Islamic State near Es Sider, the country’s biggest oil port which has been closed for more than a year, according to the guards’ spokesman Ali al-Hasy.

Four Islamic State militants and two petroleum guards were killed in the ongoing armed confrontations near Es Sider, al-Hasy said by phone. An oil storage tank was hit by a shell and caught fire, he said. The storage tank is close to the oil port of Ras Lanuf, Mohamed Elharari, spokesman of the state-run National Oil Corp., said by phone

“An oil storage tank caught fire and there was a big explosion,” Elharari said.

Islamic State militants previously tried to attack Es Sider in October, killing one guard, but were repelled at the gate of the terminal by the petroleum guards. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf terminals have been closed to oil exports since force majeure was declared in December 2014 when armed groups attacked the ports. Force majeure is a legal status protecting a party from liability if it can’t fulfill a contract for reasons beyond its control.

Libya, with Africa’s largest oil reserves, pumped about 1.6 million barrels a day of crude before the 2011 rebellion that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s 42-year rule. It’s now the smallest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, producing 370,000 barrels a day in December, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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