The Washington Post

Oil exports resume after a lengthy hiatus

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Libya resumed oil exports Wednesday, ending a hiatus that lasted months.

The resumption came after the country restarted production at oil fields following the firing of the chairman of the state-run oil corporatio­n by one of Libya’s two rival government­s.

A Malta-flagged tanker docked at the al-sidra terminal to ship 1 million barrels of crude oil, the new leadership of the National Oil Corp. said. The vessel will then head to Italy, it said.

Last week, the NOC lifted a force majeure that was declared in April at several oil facilities after tribal leaders, aligned with powerful eastern-based commander Khalifa Hifter, shut them down. A force majeure is a legal maneuver that enables a company to get out of its contract obligation­s because of extraordin­ary circumstan­ces.

Production was resumed Tuesday at several fields, including the country’s largest, after three months of closure, the NOC said.

Abdulhamid Dbeibah, prime minister of the Tripoli-based government, announced last week the sacking of the NOC chairman. He appointed Farhat Bengdara, a former governor of Libya’s central bank, to head the oil company.

Bengdara is known for his strong ties with Hifter, whose forces control Libya’s eastern and much of southern areas.

The appointmen­t was seen as a move by Dbeibah to gain control over oil revenue and Hifter’s support in his rivalry with Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed prime minister by the east-based parliament in February.

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