Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Militia Fighting in Libya Hits Fuel Tanker Near Tripoli Airport
Scene of rebel fighting in Tripoli, Libya.
Violence Escalates Hitting Oil Infrastructure for First Time

Wall Street Journal
July 23, 2014 1:23 p.m. ET

Heavy fighting around Tripoli airport has hit a fuel tanker, oil and airport officials said Wednesday, as an escalation of violence in Libya damages the oil infrastructure for the first time.

Fighting between rival militia for control of the Libyan capital's airport has left at least 47 dead in the worst clashes in six months. It has also led to the evacuation of oil expatriates and prevented some staff reaching a key oil field denting production there.

The fuel tanker, which was close to the airport, burst into flames after being hit by a missile, according to statements and videos posted on the airport's Facebook FB +2.92%  page. The page subsequently showed the fire had been put out.

Libyan oil officials, who confirmed the incident, said the damage will make it even more difficult to supply Tripoli, which has already suffered from acute shortages of fuel.

However, despite unrest in the capital, oil operations elsewhere have registered some progress. On its Facebook page, the state-run Sirte Oil Co. said production at its oil fields in Eastern Libya has now restarted and it is producing 21,000 barrels a day. The resumption comes after an agreement with protesting guards enabled the reopening of the Brega oil port, which gets its supplies from the fields.

A tanker from Mellitah, a port terminal operation partly run by Eni ENI.MI +0.10%  SpA, has also been scheduled to load, according to another Libyan oil official.

It is unclear when the last shipment took place although loadings were reportedly undertaken there late June.

The news come after state-run National Oil Co. Monday announced the resumption of exports from Libya's largest oil field Sharara.

Write to Benoît Faucon at

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