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Forces of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord in Libya have seized a town near Tripoli that served as the main supply base for the Libyan National Army of General Khalifa Haftar who is fighting the GNA for control of the capital.
Reuters reported the news quoting witnesses, noting the takeover of the town of Gharyan is a serious blow to Haftar’s forces, which are affiliated with the rival eastern government of Libya. The LNA launched an attack on Tripoli in April and fighting has been going on since then without any significant advances by either side.
The GNA-affiliated forces, according to the Reuters sources, stormed Gharyan early in the morning on Wednesday in a surprise attack that ensured their success. The LNA was forced out of the town and the GNA army took over its central operations room, field hospitals, and a helicopter base.
The LNA, however, has one more base in the vicinity, in the town of Tarhouna, which it could use to launch a response to the taking of Gharyan or continue its advance on Tripoli.
Ever since the fighting started in April, Libya’s National Oil Corporation has been warning that hostilities could threaten production, and this time, the situation could be worse than at the start of the civil war in 2011. The threat is rising at a time when NOC is making progress towards recovering Libya’s oil production after a slump following the civil war. Without the outages, the country produces about 1 million bpd.
At the same time, despite the fighting, the country’s production could double in five years. Right now, despite the deterioration in its security situation, Libya exported more oil during the second quarter of the year, according to data from IHS Markit, at an average of 960,000 bpd. That’s 40 percent above the average for the first quarter when the Sharara field—Libya’s largest—was offline.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.