Oil production in eastern Libya halted for at least four more weeks
Oil production in Libya's rebel-held east will not resume for at least four weeks, the head of the rebel council-run oil company, Wahid Bughaigis, said Sunday.
Bughaigis said damage to an oil field in Misla, which is also responsible for processing oil from other sites in the south-east, has still not been repaired, dpa reported.
"We are still unable to produce oil because the oil field in Misla, which was been attacked by (Moamer) Gaddafi forces several times since February, has been so extensive," he said. "Until it is repaired we will not be able to produce nor ship any more oil."
To date the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) has managed to export one shipment of oil, through a deal with Qatar. The shipment earned the council 129 million dollars.
But with an ongoing need to buy weapons and ensure food supplies to the east, Bughaigis said the profit would not go far.
"It will be at least four weeks, and I am hesitant about putting a time stamp on it, before we are able to think about making another shipment," he said.
Income from crude oil could permit the ITNC to reinforce its army and step up its fight to liberate the Tripoli.
According to ITNC vice-president Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, having enough money to buy weapons is crucial to the ongoing struggle on the battlefield.
"So long as there are not enough arms arriving, we will have to count on an internal collapse of the Gaddafi regime," he said. "That is something that is increasingly becoming a possibility. Yesterday, protests against the regime in Tripoli were covered up. Instead the regime spread rumours that the head of the ITNC had been killed. This shows that they are weakening both politically and militarily on a daily basis."
He said that teams of military advisors from France and Italy have not arrived in Benghazi.
"There's no doubt that we will benefit greatly from their presence," he said. "But they have not yet arrived."
Earlier on Sunday gunfire was heard in Benghazi as, according to the ITNC, lingering sleeper cells of pro-Gaddafi forces were captured.