An oil tanker left the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf late September with the first crude export cargo from the terminal since at least late 2014, BBC News reported. The cargo of 776,000b of crude was heading to Italy. The port’s manager said that a second vessel was preparing to load at the terminal.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) has welcomed a promise by Haftar’s forces to allow the NOC to control the ports. NOC Chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, said that national production had risen to about 390,000b/d from less than 290,000b/d before the change of control at the ports, according to Reuters. Any boost in production through the ports could also benefit the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli as it tries to unite rival armed factions and stabilize the economy.
The ports of Ras Lanuf, al-Sidra, and Zuitina, known as the oil crescent, lie between Tripoli and Tobruk, where the country’s two rival governments are based. Forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar took Ras Lanuf and two other terminals from a rival militia group allied to the GNA in Tripoli.
Oil exports were an important part of Libya’s economy before the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Since then, the country has been divided between the rival governments and hundreds of militia forces.