The Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) has removed itself from the Zawiya refinery in Libya after the National Oil Corporation (NOC) accused them of fuel smuggling, Oil Price reported.

According to a NOC statement, Zawiya storage administration at Brega Oil Company and Al-Zawiya refinery received a letter from the commander of the PFG backup brigade, Mohammed Kashlaf, telling them that the PFG will withdraw from the refinery. Furthermore, the spokesman of the PFG backup brigade, Abdullah Naser, confirmed that  they withdrew in protest of the accusations of the NOC Chairman, Mustafa Sanallah, who said they were smuggling fuel outside Libya, informed The Libya Observer.

It was reported earlier January that fuel smuggling in Libya has bloomed recently, in spite of the work of agencies such as the Anti-Smuggling Commission and NOC. A new armed group calling itself the Anti-Fuel-Smuggling Brigade has also appeared on the scene, stating it will fight fuel smuggling by attacking the tanker trucks carrying oil products to Tunisia.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) took control of Libya’s oil ports in the Oil Crescent from the PFG, and then handing control over to the NOC. The PFG, which is affiliated with the UN-backed Government of National Accord, had suspended all shipments from the ports, demanding financial compensation from the authorities, and has also substantially cut oil production. Accordingly, Libya shipped its first export-bound cargo of crude in two years, in September 2016, and since then has upped its daily crude output from 300,000b/d to close to 700,000b/d by the end of the year.