Monday, December 29, 2014

Fires Spread to Five Crude Tanks at Libya’s Oil Terminal
Black smoke billows out of a storage oil tank in the
port of Es Sider in Ras Lanuf December 25, 2014.
Photo: Reuters
Dec 28, 2014: Libyan storage tanks capable of storing 6.2 million barrels of oil, or four times the country’s daily oil production capacity, are at risk of catching fire with southerly winds threatening to spread the blaze.

Five tanks are on fire at the Es Sider port, Libya’s largest oil terminal, Ali al-Hasy, a spokesman for the Petroleum Facilities Guard, said by phone. The wind is strong enough that the blazes may spread, he said. Es Sider tanks have capacity to hold 6.2 million barrels, according to Mohamed Elharari, a spokesman for Libya’s National Oil Co.

“It is a disaster threatening the lives of thousands of people,” Libya’s Ministry of Oil & Gas said on its website. “The fire smoke covers the city’s residential area in Ras Lanuf.” International assistance is being sought because the fires may lead to environmental damages in the Mediterranean Sea, al-Hasy said.

Libya, holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves, has been in a civil war since 2011 when dictator Muammar Qaddafi died after a 42-year rule. The fires at Es Sider started on Dec. 25 after Libya’s oil guard gave Islmatist militias an ultimatum before air strikes and the Islamists fought back with rockets.

Oil prices initially rallied on Dec. 26 after the fires heightened speculation of reduced output. Brent oil settled 1.3 percent lower at $59.45 a barrel.

Refining towers and fuel storage tanks are seen at the Zawiya oil refinery near... Read More
The Petroleum Facilities Guard is overseen by the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni. Shipments from Es Sider and the neighboring Ras Lanuf oil port, Libya’s third-largest facility, halted this month after the self-proclaimed, Islamist-backed government of Omar al-Hassi ordered the capture of export terminals controlled by al-Thinni’s government.

Libya’s oil production was 580,000 barrels a day in November, down from 1.59 million barrels a day at end of 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its capacity is 1.55 million barrels. The fighting has caused production to decline to 352,000 barrels a day, Elharari said on Dec. 26.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ayman Abdelkadar in Tripoli at; Saleh Sarrar in Dubai at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nayla Razzouk at Claudia Carpenter, Inal Ersan

Courtesy: Bloomberg
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