Libya oil authority calls for withdrawal of militia from key terminals

NOC says forces linked to Ibrahim Jathran must withdraw from Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.

TRIPOLI - Libya's National Oil Corporation called on Saturday for the "unconditional and immediate" withdrawal of the armed faction under former oil port blockader Ibrahim Jathran from the two major terminals of Ras Lanuf and Es Sider.

The NOC said in a statement that storage tank 12 in Ras Lanuf had been "significantly damaged" in fighting on Thursday, when armed forces linked to Jathran stormed the two ports, causing them to close.

"NOC calls for the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the militia operating under Ibrahim Jathran to prevent an environmental disaster and further destruction of key infrastructure," the statement said.

"Further damage to these sites could have a huge impact on the Libyan oil sector and the national economy."

Jathran had controlled terminals in Libya's oil crescent for several years before losing control of them in September 2016 to forces under Khalifa Haftar, the dominant figure in eastern Libya.

Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) allowed the NOC to reopen the ports after a long blockade by Jathran that cost Libya tens of billions of dollars in lost exports.

Jathran said on Thursday he was launching a campaign to recapture the ports in order to "overturn the injustice" that he said had been imposed on people in the area by the LNA over the past two years.

The NOC declared force majeure in Ras Lanuf and Es Sider, announcing an initial production loss of 240,000 barrels per day (bpd), which it said was expected to rise to 400,000 bpd if the ports stayed shut.