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Libya in $6 mln push to tackle oil port fires

Libya’s recognized government has contracted a U.S. firefighter firm to help extinguish blazing fires

Published: Updated:

Libya’s recognized government has contracted a U.S. firefighter firm to help extinguish blazing fires at storage tanks in the el-Sidr oil port, a spokesman said on Monday.

Work is set to start within five days, government spokesman Mohammad Bazaza said, confirming a statement on the government website. The value of the contract was $6 million, the statement said, without naming the company.

Fire has been raging for days at several storage tanks at el-Sidr , Libya’s biggest oil port, due to clashes of brigades allied with competing governments vying for control of the country’s oil facilities.

Libya’s oil output has shrunk further after the blazing oil tanks at a major terminal helped push world oil prices higher and put a strain on the country’s dollar currency reserves.

Libya is surviving on a mere 128,000 barrels per day from fields connected to the eastern port of Hariga, an oil official said on Monday, while fighting halted the major ports Es Sider and Ras Lanuf.

Total oil output, adding offshore fields and Brega output, is about 350,000 bpd - a fraction of the 1.6 million bpd it produced before the 2011 civil war. Some oil is keeping two refineries going, and the official was unable to say how much, if any, was available for export.

Oil tanks at el-Sidr have been on fire for days after a rocket hit one of them, destroying more than two days of Libyan production, officials said on Sunday. Libya has appealed to
Italy, Germany and the United States to send firefighters.

A spokesperson for ConocoPhillips, which along with Marathon Oil and Hess Corp owns the Waha Oil Co that operates the el-Sidr tanks, said they had yet to determine the extent of the damage to the oil storage facilities.