Tank burns at Libya’s biggest oil terminal

RAS LANUF, Libya - Libya’s largest oil terminal has been damaged during fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, oil workers and witnesses said.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Tue 30 Aug 2011, 6:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:41 PM

A Reuters witness saw flames and black smoke spurting from a tank at the Es-Sider oil terminal, which loaded an average of about 450,000 barrels per day before the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi began in February.

“One tank is on fire now, and we expect it will be damaged completely,” one oil worker who declined to be named said, adding he believed it was hit by a rocket in the last four days.

The extent of the damage was not immediately clear, and no one at the Waha Oil Company, the state-owned firm that controls the terminal, was immediately available to comment.

The oil worker, who had come to survey the damage, said two fires had been extinguished already and no one was currently working in the terminal, which has a storage capacity of 6.3 million barrels of crude.

Waha is owned by Libya’s National Oil Corporation in a joint venture with U.S. firms ConocoPhillips , Marathon and Hess Corp , according to information previously published on its website.

It operates four main oil fields - Waha, Dahra, Samah, and Gialo - the website, which was down on Tuesday, previously said.

The Es-Sider terminal, about 180 km from Sirte on Libya’s eastern coast, stores oil pumped from the Sirte Basin containing fields operated by French oil major Total and Italian oil firm Eni .

Abdeljalil Mayouf, an official at rebel oil firm AGOCO, said the tank at Es-Sider had been hit during fighting between rebels and Gaddafi forces within the last few days.

“The tank is still on fire. It was shot maybe three days ago,” he said.

An announcement on Sunday that AGOCO would be able to export crude from its Tobruk terminal by the end of September had raised hopes for a quick resumption of Libyan exports.

The National Transitional Council, Libya’s de facto government after Gaddafi’s forces were expelled from most of the capital Tripoli last week, is struggling to revive the oil- and gas-based economy.

Revenues from the industry will be vital as the council tries to pay salaries, restore basic services and impose order across the vast, war-battered country more than six months after the revolt against Gaddafi’s four-decade rule began.

A damaged tank at the Brega export terminal was also still spewing flames and black smoke on Monday.

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