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Armed Groups Clash In Libya’s Oil Crescent

Violent clashes erupted over the weekend between two armed groups in the Brega region, in Libya’s Oil Crescent, the Libyan National Oil Corporation said in a statement.

“Violent Clashes took place over the past 48 hours in the Brega region, only hundreds of meters away from oil tanks, between armed groups called Al-Saiqa and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG), all of whom belong to Khalifa Haftar,” the NOC’s statement read.

“They exchanged gunfire using medium-sized, 23mm-caliber firearms and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which reflects the lack of responsibility and military discipline among these armed groups, whose actions jeopardize oil facilities and threaten the safety of NOC workers as well the residents in the surrounding areas.”

Libya has been in the throes of a prolonged conflict between Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army, which is affiliated with the eastern Libyan government, and the UN-recognized Government of National Accord. LNA affiliates blockaded Libya’s oil export ports in January this year as part of the conflict, eventually reducing the country’s oil production from above 1 million bpd to less than 100,000 bpd.

Earlier this month, the National Oil Corporation lifted the force majeure on oil exports that it had imposed following the blockade, potentially giving OPEC+ a headache in the coming months as the group continues to withhold supply from the market. Two days later, however, it reimposed the force majeure, citing the renewed blockade on the oil ports.

Libya had planned to increase its oil production to 2.4 million bpd over the next four years, but this was before the blockade began in January. Now, the NOC says it expects average production to be 650,000 bpd in 2022, “in the absence of an immediate restart of oil production and because of the state’s failure to provide the requested budgets to address the many challenges resulting from the blockade."

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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