By Kunle SHONUGA
An oil storage tank at the RasLanuf oil port in Libya’s ‘oil crescent’ region was hit in new fighting on Sunday, a fire fighting official said.
The official said the RasLanuf’s storage tank No. II was hit and held 200,000 barrels of crude at the time.
TBI Africa reports that armed clashes broke out on Thursday in the Libyan oil crescent region that contains the country’s main oil ports after an armed militia attacked army troops stationed there.
Information department of the army said in a statement that its forces defeated and expelled the Benghazi Defense Brigades, which tried to penetrate into the oil crescent region and ignite an oil reservoir in Veba oil field of al-Harougeoil company.
“The attack aims at easing the army’s firepower on the terrorists in Darna, of which liberation is very soon,” the statement said.
Earlier on Thursday, former chief of the Oil Installation Guards, Ibrahim Jathran, who is wanted by the Public Prosecutor, declared war in the oil crescent.
The state-owned National Oil Corporation also evacuated its employees from the ports of RasLanuf and Sidra for security reasons.
“The oil production dropped by an estimated of 240,000 barrels. An oil tanker that was supposed to arrive at Sidra port was postponed,” the corporation said in a statement, calling for “bringing to justice all individuals or groups trying to take over Libyan oil installation, besiege production operations, and use the Corporation to achieve their goals.”
A year ago, Jathran was involved in blocking oil exports with Benghazi Defence Brigades, as well as attacking oil ports, which was stopped later by the army forces.
In September 2016, the army took control of the oil crescent region and expelled forces loyal to Jathran, who closed major oil ports and cost the country billions of U.S. dollars of losses.