Libyan rebels, govt reach deal to open two seized oil ports - rebel official

Photo: Libyan rebels, govt reach deal to open two seized oil ports - rebel official / Arab World

Libyan rebels occupying key eastern oil ports have reached an agreement with the government to reopen two of the terminals, a rebel spokesman and a local television channel said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Both the government and the rebels have said over the last week they were close to ending the eight-month blockade of ports that previously accounted for more than 600,000 barrels per day of crude exports.

The rebel spokesman said the agreement would reopen Zueitina and Hariga ports, the two smallest terminals under rebel control and which account for around 200,000 bpd of the OPEC country's crude export capacity.

The justice minister said the government had scheduled a news conference for Sunday night, but did not give any further comment on confirmation of a deal.

Local al-Nabaa television channel also reported that the two ports would be reopened in the presence of government ministers, but did not give any time.

While previous reports of ports reopening have fallen through and investors remain wary, tribal mediation between the government and the eastern port rebels appears to have moved closer to agreement this time.

The restart of Libya's eastern oil ports could bump up Libya's output from around 150,000 bpd, but it would still be far from the 1.4 million bpd it produced last July.

Port rebels are demanding a greater share in Libya's oil wealth. The country's weak central government is struggling to impose security and control brigades of former rebel fighters nearly three years after civil war ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

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