National Oil Corporation (NOC) in western Libya warned traders against loading ‘illicit’ cargoes of oil at Hariga port in the eastern part of the country, informed Bloomberg. In response,  the company’s counterpart in the east acknowledged it had signed ten contracts to export crude from the terminal.

“Six or seven foreign companies” signed oil-purchase contracts with people who say they represent the government based in eastern Libya and “have no authority to sell Libyan oil,” the Tripoli-based NOC said in a statement. “The only authority legally empowered to sell Libyan crude oil is the National Oil Corporation, with its seat in Tripoli,” NOC insisted.

Conflict between Libyan factions since the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has brought the oil industry — the most important pillar for the country’s economy — to a near standstill. Civil war has left Libya split with the NOC in the west being recognized by traders such as Glencore Plc and Vitol Group as the official marketer of Libyan oil. The eastern government has set up a separate NOC administration, which represents Libya in matters relating to oil including OPEC. The eastern National Oil Corp. said it was seeking to hire a UK law firm to sue the NOC in Tripoli.