Libya's UN-Backed Forces Take Control of Key Oil Ports, TV Says

Updated on
  • Petroleum Facilities Guard commands Es Sider and Ras Lanuf
  • Militia group had captured the ports in offensive last week

Libya’s United Nations-backed forces took control of two of the nation’s biggest oil ports on Tuesday, after clashes between rival armed groups led to a halt in shipments.

The Petroleum Facilities Guard has obtained control of oil facilities at the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf “under the authorization of the Presidential Council,” Al Nabaa television reported, citing a statement from PFG head Idries Bu Khamada.

The Benghazi Defense Brigades, a militia group, captured the ports in an offensive that began on March 3. Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, the North African nation’s largest and third-largest oil ports, respectively, had been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Bu Khamada said Libya’s National Oil Corp. can now inform all oil companies to return to installations under PFG control. In an interview with Al Nabaa, he urged Haftar’s air force to refrain from carrying out any bombardments that could harm the facilities.

Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has been trying to boost its oil production following an internal conflict that escalated in late 2014, but had shown signs of calming in recent months. The nation produced about 700,000 barrels of oil a day in February, according to Bloomberg estimates.