Libya's National Oil Corp says port blockades lifted

Tripoli (AFP) –


Libya's National Oil Corporation said Thursday that exports had resumed from several oil terminals in the country's east after young protesters demanding jobs ended blockades there.

The firm "announces the resumption of crude oil export operations at the ports of Al-Sidra and Ras Lanuf after a group of young people ended their sit-in inside the ports, which lasted for days," the NOC said in a statement.

It said the standoff had ended thanks to NOC chief Mustafa Sanalla's talks with "notables and wise men in the region" who had urged the protesters to take part in forthcoming training programmes organised by the firm.

Libya's vast oil sector, the backbone of its economy, has suffered regular halts in production over the decade since a NATO-backed revolt toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi and sparked the country's violent disintegration.

Protesters have frequently blocked production and export facilities to demand jobs and investment.

Several sites blockaded by young people demanding jobs have been reopened in recent days, including Al-Hariga in the east on Wednesday, the NOC said.

Libya's main petroleum export hubs lie in the "Oil Crescent" in the country's east.

The NOC is a rare example of a state institution that has remained unified and neutral throughout the years of fighting that splintered the country between east and west.

Following a ceasefire between eastern and western forces in October, the NOC reopened all the country's oil installations and production bounced back.

Today it produces about 1.6 million barrels per day, still short of the country's pre-revolution output.