Dozens Drown on Libya Migrant Boat; Italy Impounds Rescue Ship
Dozens of migrants trying to reach Europe drowned in the Mediterranean on Friday and 100 more were sent back to Libya, the United Nations said, while Italian authorities signalling opposition to more migration from Africa seized a rescue ship.The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said 65 people drowned when their boat capsized off Tunisia, and 101 others who had been picked up at sea were returned to Libya, despite repeated warnings that it is not a safe country to send people back to.It was one the deadliest shipwrecks involving migrants trying to reach Europe via north Africa this year.Tripoli, a hub for migrants and refugees hoping to sail to Europe after a perilous trek through the Sahara…
Italy's Salvini: Terrorist presence on migrants boats "a certainty"
Chaos in Libya following General Khalifa Haftar's offensive has increased the risk of terrorist presence on migrant boats headed for Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said, adding the country's ports would remain closed."Islamic terrorist infiltration is no longer a risk, it has become a certainty: it is therefore my duty to reiterate that no docking will be allowed on Italian shores" he said in a radio interview on Wednesday.Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant League party, refused to say if Italy's stance could change in case of a full-fledged war in Libya after the flare-up in the cycle of anarchy gripping the country since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.(Reuters reporting by Alessia Pe, editing by Valentina Za)
Key Oil Export Terminals Reopen in Libya
Tripoli-based National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Wednesday four export terminals were being reopened after eastern factions handed over the ports, ending a standoff that had shut down most of Libya's oil output.Production and export operations would be restored "within the next few hours", an NOC statement said, although the restart at Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, where workers were evacuated and storage tanks damaged in fighting last month, was expected to be gradual.A tanker at Hariga was due to start loading 1 million barrels of crude on Wednesday afternoon…
Oil Tight on Libyan Port Struggles
Libyan oil production could face protracted disruption as factions in the east seek to seize control of crude exports, adding pressure to a tight global market. Eastern factions have tried to take over oil exports in the past but have struggled to find buyers because Western nations insist they will deal only with the internationally recognised National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. But this has not stopped eastern forces from seeking control of the ports, accusing Libya's western-based government of failing to share revenues fairly.
Struggle to Control Libyan Oil Ports Adds to Global Supply Worries
Libyan oil production could face protracted disruption as factions in the east have sought to seize control of crude exports, adding pressure to a tight global market.Eastern factions have tried to take over oil exports in the past yet struggled to find buyers as Western nations insist they will only deal with the internationally recognised National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.But this has not stopped eastern forces from seeking control of the ports, accusing Libya's western-based government of failing to share revenues fairly.The latest tussle for power has already slashed national production to about 600…
East Libyan Forces Advance to Retake Oil Ports
East Libyan forces said on Thursday they had retaken the shuttered oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, though clashes resumed south of Ras Lanuf in the afternoon after a counter-attack by rival factions.Staff were evacuated from terminals in Libya's eastern oil crescent and exports were suspended last Thursday when armed opponents of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar stormed the ports and occupied them.The closure has led to production losses of up to 450,000 barrels…
Libya Oil Output Slashed by Port Attacks
Libya has lost some 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production in recent days because of militant attacks at the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider ports, the head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, said on Tuesday.Sanalla said there were still militants present in the area of the terminals, which were closed on Thursday following an early morning attack by opponents of eastern-based Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar."We look to fight the fire first of all, stabilise the situation…
Libyan NOC Official Warns of Force Majeure at Oil Ports as Rivals Mobilize
A senior official at Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) warned on Monday of a possible declaration of force majeure at the Es Sider and Ras Lanuf oil terminals, as air strikes continued and rival forces mobilized fighters in the area. NOC board member Jadalla Alaokali said force majeure, a legal waiver for contractual obligations, would "likely" be declared if violence continued, though he gave no timeframe. Libya's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) lost control of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf to a rival faction, the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), 10 days ago. Both sides have since been mobilizing, and the LNA has been conducting daily air strikes in the area. Most workers have left the ports.
Libya: Air Strikes Aimed to Regain Oil Ports
East Libyan forces carried out air strikes around major oil ports on Saturday as they sought to regain control of the area from a rival faction, a military spokesman said. The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and allied forces retreated on Friday from Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, two of Libya's largest export terminals, as a faction known as the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) attacked. The prospect of a renewed escalation of violence around the ports puts at risk the big rise in oil production achieved after the LNA took over four ports in September. Libya's oil production has been fluctuating around 700,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than double its output last year but well under the 1.6 million bpd the OPEC member was producing before a 2011 uprising.
Tanker Docks at Libya's Es Sider Port to Load First Crude Cargo in Two Years
An oil tanker docked at the east Libyan port of Es Sider on Monday to load the first cargo of crude since the terminal reopened following a two-year closure, port officials said. Es Sider, Libya's biggest export terminal, had been shut due to a blockade by a military faction since 2014. It reopened in mid September, but repairs were needed before tankers could load at the port, and its capacity remains far below its pre-conflict level of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd). Es Sider is one of four ports seized in September by forces loyal to east Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, which allowed Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) to reopen them, doubling national production to about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Newly Pumped Crude Leaves Reopened Libyan Port of Ras Lanuf
A tanker left the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf on Monday carrying the first freshly produced crude oil to be exported since the terminal reopened in September, a port official said. The tanker shipped 600,000 barrels and a second tanker was due to dock at Ras Lanuf shortly, the official said. Ras Lanuf is one of four ports that forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized in September. Three had been blockaded by a rival faction. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) reopened them and the first export cargo for about two years was shipped from Ras Lanuf in late September. However, until now all oil at the terminal had been taken from existing stocks.
Libyan Oil Port Takeover Gives Edge to Eastern Commander
Less than a fortnight after forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar swept into four of Libya's oil ports, tankers are loading, production has jumped, and momentum has shifted firmly in the divisive former general's favour. For Haftar's opponents, and for Western powers, the move on the ports was alarming. Haftar and his backers in eastern Libya have been in a stand-off for months with a unity government in Tripoli, blocking any parliamentary vote to endorse it and challenging the U.N.-mediated deal to unify Libya. How Haftar and his allies will use control of the country's major oil exports - whether to leverage political advantage under that U.N. deal, or to extend military control across Libya - is still uncertain. But risks to stability are clear.
Libyan Military Shells Turkish Cargo Ship, Crewman Killed
Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government said on Monday they shelled a Turkish ship off the Libyan coast after it was warned not to approach, and one crew member was killed in what Turkey described as a "contemptible attack". Libya is in a state of violent factional chaos with two rival governments backed by various armed groups vying for control of the oil-producing North African state including its ports, four years after rebels overthrew Muammar Gaddafi. The dry cargo ship was targeted about 10 miles from the coast on Sunday after it was told not to break a ban on approaching the eastern city of Derna, Libyan military spokesman Mohamed Hejazi told Reuters.
Libyan Planes Sink Ship, Attack Another near Benghazi
Libyan war planes sank one ship and attacked a second vessel on Sunday near the eastern city of Benghazi, military spokesmen for the country's internationally recognized government said on Monday. There was no independent confirmation for the strike near the town of Mareesa, the latest attack on ships in Libya where two governments and parliaments are fighting for control years after the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi. "The vessel was sunk because it had loaded fighters, weapons and ammunition to support terrorism in the eastern region," air force spokesman Nasser al-Hassi said early on Monday. Mohamed El Hejazi, a spokesman for Khalifa Haftar…
Libya's NOC Says Tanker Will Transfer Oil from Threatened Port
Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Thursday that rival forces had agreed to let a tanker dock at Zueitina port to load oil and take it to a safe place. The NOC expressed concern earlier this month after reports of possible clashes between the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) and forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. The PFG has signed a deal to end its blockade of Zueitina and two other ports with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, but eastern forces loyal to a separate government have threatened to block a resumption of exports. Those forces recently mobilised near Zueitina and PFG positions, though there have been no reports of violence.
Libyan Commander's Seizure of Oil Ports Risks New Conflict
Libyan forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar said on Monday they had tightened their control over four major oil ports, casting a Western-backed project to unite Libya and revive oil exports into deep uncertainty. Haftar's forces met little resistance as they seized the terminals at Ras Lanuf, Es Sider, Zueitina and Brega in an operation launched on Sunday, displacing a rival armed faction aligned with the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. The advance is the latest power struggle over the OPEC nation's energy assets, after the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi and the chaos that followed left the North African country splintered into competing rival armed factions.
Libya Resumes Oil Exports from Some Major Ports
Libya is resuming oil exports from some of its main ports which forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar seized in recent days and has lifted related "force majeuere" contractual clauses, the National Oil Corporation said on Thursday. The north African nation is highly dependent on hydrocarbon revenues and needs oil exports to resume to save its economy from collapse. Conflict since Libya's 2011 uprising has reduced its oil output to a fraction of the 1.6 million barrels per day the OPEC member once produced. "Exports will resume immediately from Zueitina and Ras Lanuf, and will continue at Brega ... exports will resume from Es Sider as soon as possible," NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said.
Libya Exports First Oil Cargo From Ras Lanuf Since 2014
An oil tanker left the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf for Italy early on Wednesday with the first crude export cargo from the terminal since at least late 2014, boosting hopes of reviving Libya's battered oil output. The port manager of Ras Lanuf said a second tanker was preparing to load at the terminal, one of four seized on Sept. 11-12 by eastern Libyan forces loyal to military leader Khalifa Haftar. Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) has welcomed a promise by Haftar's forces to allow the NOC to control the ports.
Libya Containing Port Fire, Export Resumption in Question
Libya has made progress containing a fire at its largest oil port that has destroyed four days of the country's oil production but the damage to storage tanks will hamper efforts to resume exports, officials and industry insiders said. The fire at Es Sider, the country's main oil export terminal, has been blazing for a week and is a visible indication of the destructive violence that threatens to tear the country apart almost four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The North African country is in the middle of a power struggle between two opposing governments -- the internationally recognised authorities in the east and rivals who have seized power in the capital -- that are vying for control of Africa's biggest oil reserves.
Warplane Bombs Greek-operated Oil Tanker at Port
A Libyan warplane from forces loyal to the internationally recognised government bombed a Greek-operated oil tanker anchored off the coast, killing two crewmen in an escalation of hostilities between factions vying to rule the country. Military officials said the vessel had been warned not to enter port and said it had been transporting Islamist militants to Derna, the eastern port city where the ship was at anchor when it was hit on Sunday. State oil firm NOC said it had leased the ship to carry fuel for power generation to Derna from Brega, an oil port to the west. The vessel was damaged but none of the 12,600 tonnes of heavy oil leaked out, the Athens-based operator Aegean Shipping Enterprises Co. said.
Libyan Army Fights to Capture Benghazi Port
Clashes erupted in the center of Libya's main eastern city Benghazi on Thursday as pro-government forces pushed to take the port district from Islamist militants, and seven soldiers were killed, witnesses and military officials said. The port, the main gateway for food imports into eastern Libya, has had to close. The fighting mirrors a wider struggle in the oil producing North African state where two governments and parliaments, allied to rival armed groups, are vying for control almost four years after Muammar Gaddafi fell to an armed uprising. Backed by forces led by General Khalifa Haftar, army special forces in mid-October launched an offensive against Islamists in Benghazi, expelling them from the airport area and from several camps the army had lost during the summer.
Port Battle Underscores Possible Libya Break-Up
Armed factions deploying heavy weapons. Peace talks making little progress. Hidden behind a pile of sand, a tank points its gun towards Libya's biggest oil port on the other side of an invisible frontier that now divides the north African nation. Factions fighting for control of Libya and its oil wealth have moved columns of heavy weapons to this new front line running through the middle of the country, escalating a conflict that Western powers fear may lead to a national break-up four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya Reopens Oil Port After Strike
Libya reopened its oil port of Hariga on Tuesday, ending a strike by guards that had threatened to further slash exports as rival factions fight for control of the OPEC country. The threat to shut down Hariga underlined the fragility of oil shipments as two competing governments and their armed allies are locked in a scramble for territory and petroleum wealth. Hariga reopened shortly before the United Nations was expected to hold talks to prevent a wider conflict that Western governments fear will turn Libya into a failed state just across the Mediterranean from Europe. Libya shut most operations at the Hariga terminal near Egypt's border, the last functioning land oil export terminal, on Saturday after security guards prevented a tanker from docking in a protest over wage payments.