A major Libyan oil pipeline south of Ras Lanuf, which runs from the Tibisti and Bayda fields and has been closed for more than two years, was hit with an explosion on December 14th, Reuters reports. The Libyan National Oil Corporation said that it was not clear what had caused the explosion. An oil official from Eastern Libya, Mohamed al-Manfi, said the blast was a result of sabotage and that workers were working to contain the damage.
Libya has seen a string of attacks on oil infrastructure over the past month. Earlier in January, the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals were attacked by Islamic State – leading to fatalities and major fires, News Daily wrote. In early January, Benghazi’s largest power plant was attacked and caught fire, Reuters informed.
These attacks come weeks after representatives of Libya’s two rival governments signed a power-sharing agreement that called for the formation of a national unity government. However, the rival National Oil Corporations – one based in Tripoli, the other in East Libya – continue to compete over oil rights and exports. In December, the Eastern National Oil Corporation, which few recognize as legitimate, signed an agreement to export 2m barrels of oil to Egypt – a deal to which the NOC of Tripoli objects, Reuters reports. Experts are concerned that competition over oil will undermine the political unity agreement.